The seemingly endless rise in the popularity of online shopping has led to a corresponding increase in the demand for large vans to deliver goods ordered via the internet.
But,the problem with most high-cube commercial vehicles is that, if they are to nudge in under the magic 3.5-tonne barrier (thus avoiding the tachograph, the O-licence and CPC), their payloads are often severely restricted due to the weight of the body.
A group of businessmen, two from Leicester and one from Worthing in West Sussex, has formed a new company to try and solve the huge demand for larger delivery vans.
They are confident they can now offer the delivery industry a solution to the old payload problem using hi-tech lightweight components.
The three firms involved are Doyle’s Auto Refinishing, Crouch Logistics – which delivers six-and-a-half million parcels per year – and Creative Asset Finance.
They have formed Maxi-Low UK and launched the Maxi-Low range of lightweight vehicle bodies.
40% greater payload over standard Luton
Three basic models are available – the Maxi-Low Luton, Luton Multi-Drop with a walk-through cab and a multi-drop panel van conversion.
The Luton versions have a load capacity of 18.5 cubic metres and a class-leading payload of 1,520kg (1,420kg for Multi-Drop), with a lower rear step at 400mm. Six Euro pallets can be carried.
The new model offers in excess of 40% increased payload over a conventional Luton.
The panel van conversion offers a payload of 887kg and includes a partition with sliding door, racking and shelving and a foldable passenger seat.
The new models are based on the Vauxhall Movano platform-cab and feature a 2.3-litre common rail turbodiesel powerplant with 125bhp which satisfies Euro5 CO2 legislation in respect of greener emissions.
They are built at Doyle’s plant in Leicester.
Doyle’s owner Ady Doyle said: “We have been developing this van for the best part of three years.
"The secret is its lightweight plastic honeycomb body panels which we import. The honeycomb plastic is 100% recyclable.
“While we will be selling the van, all the servicing, maintenance and repair will be done through the Vauxhall dealership chain and all the vehicles will have a three-year warranty.
"We are also planning to have some demonstrators scattered throughout the Vauxhall dealer network.”
Doyle has been amazed at the interest shown so far.
He said: “Some 250 have been ordered already and I would have been happy with that figure each year.
"But we are now looking at 500 units per year and possibly ramping this up to 1,000 if we see a demand.”
The range doesn’t end with these first models.
Early next year, Maxi-Low will launch an even bigger model holding 20.5 cubic metres of cargo, while the firm is also building a giant 26 cubic metre body designed specially for use by cavity wall insulators who carry large but light loads.
Increased daily profit
The launch of the new vehicles took place at the Heritage Motor Centre at Gaydon in Warwickshire and was hosted by TV motoring personality Mike Brewer, who dubbed the Maxi-Low: “What the industry has been waiting for.”
Brewer said: “This vehicle is a fundamental change of a well-proven design. It will allow users to make more profit per day because it will mean bigger loads can be carried and fewer vehicles will be needed on the fleet.
“Using a Vauxhall for the base vehicle is a great idea because there is a Vauxhall dealer on virtually every corner in the UK and the firm has a dedicated team of commercial vehicle specialists on hand to help fleet buyers with all aspects of running their vehicles.
"We reckon that using a Maxi-Low as opposed to a conventional Luton van will save approximately £5,200 per van per year.”
Prices of the vans may vary depending on how many vehicles are ordered.