One hot topic on the majority of van manufacturer’s lips these days is CO2 (carbon dioxide) emissions. In the UK, any vehicle registered from the 1st March 2001 onwards is taxed based on the amount of CO2 emissions from the vehicle’s engine.
And for business owners and fleet managers, there are implications for the amount of “benefit-in-kind” tax that is paid, as this too is dependent on the emissions values.
Van manufacturers are always looking at ways to lower or even completely remove the amount of carbon dioxide emissions that their vehicles produce. Vans are of course mainly used by tradesmen across the UK, and because they are in constant use, they can rack up a fair amount of mileage during their lifespan. Ones that are not very environmentally friendly will obviously produce more emissions.
There have been attempts to produce zero-emission vans in the past, such as the Modec in 2006, and many mainstream commercial vehicle manufacturers have dipped their toes in the diesel-electric and fully-electric markets with limited success. But can this latest concept from Germany, the Volkswagen e-Co-Motion, make a bigger impact for tradesmen, businesses and fleet managers in Britain than other previous attempts by various companies?
Introducing the Volkswagen e-Co-Motion van
The Volkswagen e-Co-Motion van concept made its debut at the Geneva Motor Show back in March 2013. Designed to take on the likes of familiar favourites on British roads such as the Ford Transit Connect, Volkswagen state that this large cargo capacity van has zero carbon dioxide emissions – therefore making it exempt from any road fund licence duty (or “car tax” to you and me), and obviously having a big impact on P11D “benefit-in-kind” taxes.
Volkswagen’s commercial-vehicle division (Volkswagen Nutzfahrzeuge), who are based in Hannover, Germany, have come up with a really modern take on today’s traditional van technology.
The global automotive manufacturer has a vision of zero-emission vehicles making local deliveries into inner-city areas where pollution is of great concern, and they want to turn that into reality. This is the sort of van that van leasing companies would love to offer their customers!
The Volkswagen e-Co-Motion van is basically driven by an electric motor, which is powered by a rechargeable electric battery. Measuring 4.55 metres in length, 1.90 metres in width and 1.96 metres in height, this eco-van is able to carry a load of up to 800 kilograms, thanks to the 4.6 cubic metre volume capacity. This has been possible by moving certain bulky components such as the battery and the drivetrain underneath the floor.
It also has a low ground clearance too, which makes life easy for loading and unloading of goods from the back and side doors.
Dr. Eckhard Scholz, spokesman of the management board at Volkswagen Nutzfahrzeuge, had this to say about the Volkswagen e-Co-Motion concept van: “Electric mobility, especially with light commercial vehicles, can play an important part in meeting the increased transport demands in the megacities of the world”.
Here is hoping that this concept van becomes reality in the very near future!