Battery-powered milk floats were once a common sight in towns and cities across the UK – now John Fiddler has brought the iconic concept bang up to date with his fully electric Mercedes-Benz van.
The Lancashire milkman is using the eVito to deliver a range of dairy products to customers’ doorsteps. Supplied by Dealer Ciceley Commercials, the vehicle offers an average range on a single charge of up to 92 miles (WLTP combined).
Like its diesel-engined stablemate the eVito has sliding load doors on both sides as well as rear doors that provide access, in the case of John’s long L2 variant, to up to 6.0m3 of cargo area. The 41 kWh battery is securely mounted in a protective housing beneath the floor, so does not impinge on the available space.
John delivers milk and other products such as cream, yoghurts and fresh orange juice across a radius of approximately 40 miles from his home village of Hutton, near Preston. He bought the round, which serves 300 customers, from the previous owner who was retiring.
Although milk deliveries represent a new opportunity, the trade is very familiar to John – he worked previously at the dairy farm that now supplies his milk, and his father has been in the business for many years.
“There’s always a risk in setting up any new venture but I’m confident that I can make a success of this,” he said. “I know the dairy trade and my local area very well, and in the eVito I have the perfect delivery vehicle.”
He continued: “My dad has driven a diesel-engined Vito for some years now, so I know it’s the ideal size for this type of work. My eVito’s 905 kg payload allowance is ample and the loadspace just right – the fact that the vehicle has doors on both sides as well as at the back makes it very easy for me to lift crates in and out.
“The eVito is also compact enough for me to negotiate some of the narrow country lanes we have in these parts, while it’s also very comfortable and great to drive.”
Commenting on his choice of an electric variant with single-speed transmission, John explained: “The range is more than sufficient for my daily round, and having no gears to worry about makes it really easy for stop-start work.
“I start my round at 3am, and get back to the dairy by about 10 – they have a charging point and I’ve arranged to leave the vehicle plugged in there, so it’s ready to go again the following morning.
“The electric driveline offers another advantage for my early morning rounds, as it’s all but silent in operation, so much less likely to disturb my customers who are often still in bed when I make my deliveries.
“Electric power is far cheaper than diesel too, and with many fewer moving parts there’s less to go wrong. As the father of a young child I’m keen to be as ‘green’ as possible by minimising the impact of my business on the environment, and my customers certainly appreciate my efforts.”
He added: “I was always confident that an electric van would be right for me, but Ciceley Commercials’ Sales Executive Rob Claringbold provided added reassurance. He took the time to understand my business model and vehicle use patterns before confirming that the eVito would meet my requirements. I’m glad he did, because I’m delighted with my new van.”
John’s 3.2-tonne eVito is finished to PURE specification. Since he placed his order, though, Mercedes-Benz Vans has responded to customer feedback by realigning this model around the more comprehensive PROGRESSIVE trimline. The eVito now comes with facelifted, chrome-finned grilles and higher-capacity charging cables, as well as additional equipment including reversing cameras and Audio 30 entertainment with DAB radio, anti-theft Protection Package and double locks.
Customers can further upgrade their eVito vans by choosing the optional PLUS Package, which incorporates extra features such as electrically folding exterior mirrors, 17-inch full wheel covers and PARKTRONIC parking sensors.
Like all Mercedes-Benz vans, John’s eVito came with a three-year, unlimited mileage warranty and MobiloVan, which provides free emergency roadside assistance, including ‘out of charge’ cover. The battery is guaranteed for eight years/160,000 km.