NRS Healthcare begins the switch to electric van power with Mercedes-Benz eVito from Northside


NRS Healthcare has embarked on the road to a cleaner, ‘greener’ future by commissioning its first electric delivery van. What’s not new, though, is the fact that it’s a Mercedes-Benz and was supplied by trusted partner Northside Truck & Van.

Based near Coalville, in Leicestershire, NRS provides community equipment, daily living aids and clinical services. It operates a fleet of 433 vehicles, every one of which wears a three-pointed star.

They work from a network of service centres across England and Wales and Northern Ireland – the battery-powered eVito has been assigned to one in Worthing, on the south coast, this location offering a suitable profile of delivery routes.

“Although this is our first electric vehicle it’s very much a pilot for a wider roll-out,” explained Head of Fleet Alison Owen. “As a forward-looking operator we like to embrace new technology, and are always looking at ways in which to reduce the impact of our business on the environment.

“We’re also conscious of the Government’s plans to end the sale of diesel vehicles by 2030. Our vans are replaced on a four-year cycle so, rather than having our hand forced, we prefer to address solutions as soon as possible. Moving early will allow us to undertake a phased introduction, and progress seamlessly from diesel to electric power.”

NRS Healthcare’s long L2 eVito has a gross weight of 3.2 tonnes and a payload allowance of 905 kg. Smartly finished in a silver livery that features a green charging-cable graphic and the strapline, “I’m fully electric”, the van offers an average range of 92 miles.

Like its diesel-engined stablemate the eVito has sliding load doors on both sides. These provide easy access, in the case of the 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.

Alison Owen continued: “We’ll use this first vehicle, and those that will shortly follow, to learn more about how to get optimum operating efficiency from the driveline. Northside Truck & Van has already been extremely supportive in this respect, providing instruction for our drivers on preserving battery power and using the eVito’s recuperative capability to full effect, as well as helping to set up a recharging point at the depot.”

She added: “Members of our Worthing team are proud and excited to be the first to run an electric NRS van. The vehicle has already been very favourably received by our clients, among them local authorities and NHS trusts, which are also keen to reduce carbon emissions wherever possible.”

The first eVito is finished to PURE specification but since it was ordered 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.

NRS Healthcare is a market-leading supplier and provider of community equipment services, and rehabilitation and care equipment, items that improve the quality of life for thousands of people with mobility and other health care needs.

The company adopted its first Mercedes-Benz vans in 2011, and has been a loyal customer ever since. Fitted with racking and on-board invertors, and loaded with stocks of tools and spare parts, the mid-sized Vito models are assigned to mobile service engineers responsible for inspecting and maintaining NRS-supplied equipment in situ.

NRS also runs Mercedes-Benz Sprinter and Citan vans. The Sprinters carry larger pieces of equipment to and from private dwellings and care homes. The smaller Citans are used by NRS’s Technology Enabled Care Services (TECS) providers, to deliver items such as personal alarm systems, which clients can use to call for help in the event of a fall in the home.

Between them, these vehicles meet all of NRS Healthcare’s operating requirements. They are maintained under Mercedes-Benz Financial Services contract hire agreements within the manufacturer’s UK Dealer Network.

Ms Owen added: “Our Mercedes-Benz vans continue to provide excellent reliability and performance, as well as presenting a smart and professional appearance and being well liked by our staff. The support we receive from the Mercedes-Benz Dealer Network is first-class too.”