Complete Business Solutions has fired the starting pistol in a race to convert its entire fleet of 177 multi-drop delivery vehicles from diesel to battery power, by commissioning its first Mercedes-Benz eSprinters.
Smartly finished in special liveries that promote their 100% electric, zero-emission credentials, the 17 vans delivered so far by Dealer Bell Truck and Van mark the beginning of a transition which the Yorkshire-headquartered operator aims to complete in a little over a year.
“This is no mere aspiration, it’s a firm commitment,” asserted Chief Executive Richard Coulson. “Our vans work throughout Britain from a network of 20 depots and all will be electric by the end of 2022. We believe we’ll be the first national operator in any sector, not just or own, to achieve such a transformation.”
The bold decision was not taken lightly, or without preparation. “We’ve been working on this plan since 2016,” said Mr Coulson. “During that time we’ve structured our whole business around the operation of an electric fleet, with regional hubs, and delivery runs and works schedules designed around the range capabilities of battery-powered vans – we will even fit rooftop solar panels at all our depots to provide sustainable energy for recharging.
“Essentially, we have placed being a 100% electric van operator at the heart of everything we do, and we’re heading towards making this a reality. We’re already 100% electric at our London base and the 17 eSprinters now going into our regional sites inject real substance into our pledge.
“We’re taking this step to reduce our own carbon footprint but by doing so we also help our customers minimise the effects of their supply chains on the environment by cutting their Scope 2 and 3 emissions, which are difficult to reduce. What’s more, we’re doing so proactively – nobody has pushed us.
“We’re very proud to be leading the way on such an important issue, at a time when companies are looking for ways to reduce their carbon emissions in order to slow down climate change.”
The Mercedes-Benz eSprinter’s 55 kWh high-voltage battery pack is securely mounted beneath the body, so does not impinge on cargo carrying space. As a result, the L2 (medium length), H2 (high roof) vehicle’s 11m3 load volume is identical to that of its diesel-engined, front-wheel drive stablemate, and half a cubic metre larger than the rear-wheel drive equivalent.
The eSprinter employs a 114 hp electric motor that drives the front wheels. It can travel 95 miles (combined WLTP with 80 km/h speed limiter) on a single charge – ample for most urban delivery and ‘last mile’ applications. Recuperative energy recovered when decelerating supplements the batteries’ output.
Although the eSprinters represent Complete’s first investments in electric Mercedes-Benz van technology, the company has run diesel-engined versions for many years.
“The Sprinter has always proved reliable and cost-effective, while presenting a smart, professional image to our customers,” added Chief Commercial Officer Adam Noble. “The eSprinter builds on that base with easy driveability and comfort, excellent standard equipment levels and, of course, a zero-emission driveline. It’s a fantastic all-round package.
“Bell Truck and Van, meanwhile, has become a trusted supplier. Its team look after us very well and, as always, Sales Executive Gary Stephenson ensured our latest vehicles were delivered on time and in perfect condition.”
The eSprinters are the subject of competitively priced Mercedes-Benz Finance contract hire agreements. Working from depots around the country, each will be maintained by the most conveniently located member of the manufacturer’s Dealer network.
Complete is one of the UK’s leading providers of business supplies and services, offering everything needed to run an efficient working environment, from consumables and furniture/fit-out, to personal protective equipment, to IT support and maintenance. With headquarters in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, the company was established in its current form in 1995 but can trace its roots back to the late 1800s. Today, it has grown to comprise 16 divisions and 20 regional branches.