Fleet briefs: Latest from Iveco, VMS, Freeway, Ctrack and CoolKit

Iveco launches drive now, pay later finance offers

Iveco has launched a series of new finance packages offering 6-months deferred payments with 5-year Repair and Maintenance (R&M) contracts on the Stralis heavy truck range.

Stralis diesel models are available from £355 per week and operators looking at alternative fuel options, can enjoy the quiet running and clean performance of Natural Power variants from just £559 per week, says Iveco.

Longer term, the included 5-year repair and maintenance contract will ensure ‘peace of mind’ and is supported in 36 European countries by the Iveco Assistance Non-Stop programme and the UK’s 89-strong service network.

Gareth Lumsdaine, truck business-line director at Iveco, said: “Stralis has proven itself to be a strong and reliable business partner, with the natural power being a real game-changer for those with a greener interest.

“The inclusion of the R&M contracts ensures that customers can relax knowing that our dealer network is behind them to care for their vehicles properly whilst protecting their resale value.”

Vehicles must be ordered before September 30 and registered before December 31 to qualify for finance offerings.

VMS Fleet Management debuts UK’s first 100% electric welfare van

VMS Fleet Management has unveiled its first 100% electric welfare van, a Renault Trucks Master Z.E.

The new generation vehicle is currently on long term rental with the Kier Group for use across a variety of their highway contracts.

The Master Z.E. L2H2 vehicle was supplied to VMS Fleet Management by Renault Trucks UK before going to Clarks Vehicle Conversions to be converted into a fully functioning electric welfare van.

Kier Group approached VMS late in 2019 having seen the vehicle in the design stage at Clarks Conversions, who were commissioned by VMS to build the prototype for their rental fleet.

Following this, Kier and VMS partnered to create a ‘greener fleet for the future’.

The features of the new Master Z.E. L2H2 vehicle include:

  • Standard welfare features, including a microwave, water boiler, dining table/desk, interior lighting, bathroom
  • Accommodates up to x6 85kg people at one time, plus additional 225kg of weight
  • Access points to vehicle and power elements 
  • Newly developed Clarks Cab Shield to assist in social distancing

The Z.E. will first be joining the Kier Group’s Smart Motorway project M6 Jct 13 – 15, where it will be evaluated before moving to undertake broad tests across urban and rural contracts. 

Martin James, managing director of VMS Fleet Management, said: “After months of testing and working closely with the fantastic team at Clarks Vehicles Conversions, I am proud to say that we can unveil the UK’s first all new, fully electric welfare van.

"It really is a credit to all involved, especially considering that the teams on the group were building this vehicle and getting it delivered in such an unnerving time.

“I’m happy to see it out on the road being tested by the teams at Kier Group who are learning the new elements of this vehicle and how it fits in with their working day.

"We will continue to work with our partners Kier, who are at the forefront of sustainable transport, on ground-breaking new vehicles that will make a real difference to the environment.”

The vehicle on test has a range of up to 120miles on a single charge dependent on route topography, load and driving style. Ideal for urban work, the Master Z.E. still has the capability for traditional highway work.

The welfare conversion has the added feature of being powered by solar panels on the roof of the vehicle which charge a lithium battery pack. This pack can be removed to charge and/or replaced with charged batteries ready to use for the next working day. 

David Chilvers, head of sales at Clarks Vehicle Conversions, said: “The Master Z.E. is something entirely new to the welfare market and the changes we’ve made to the vehicle show how the industry is changing and moving forward.

“Driving this van is an interactive and tactile experience, and we’re in communication with the Kier team while they work with this vehicle to see how it is fitting into their team. We look forward to converting even more of the Z.E. for VMS in the future.”

Freeway launches web booking portal for commercial vehicle servicing

Freeway Fleet Systems has launched a web booking portal for commercial vehicle servicing that allows vehicle operators to go online to select dates and slots for servicing and repairs.

The system auto-generates email or text messages such as booking confirmation, reminders and work completed notifications.

Using communication templates, notifications can be customised and allow different recipients to be set up, for example, dealer service desks, asset owners and vehicle drivers.

The development is part of Freeway’s fleet maintenance software that is used by the truck and bus industry, where the portal is accessed through a web browser or smartphone app.

Freeway says the web portal has been implemented by its customers for managing ‘internal customers’ where workshops undertake servicing of vehicles, trailers and plant from different divisions.

Patrick Tandy, managing director at Freeway Fleet Systems, said: “The online booking portal is a game changer for anyone providing a workshop service, whether internal or external.

“It’s a real-time paperless facility that eliminates phone calls and lot of time wasted checking workshop schedules and going back and forth with available slots.

“Like booking a slot for a grocery delivery, vehicles can be simply booked in with a few clicks and the whole process is automated thereafter.”

Ctrack and MaxOptra join forces

Ctrack by Inseego has teamed up with MaxOptra to meet the growing demand from multi-drop distribution operations for optimised scheduling and live transport management.

The partnership will deliver telematics-enabled solutions that use real-time data to support route planning and planned against actual performance monitoring.

MaxOptra’s route planning software has been integrated with Ctrack’s cloud-based telematics platform to obtain vehicle data and provide real-time visibility of what is happening out on the road.

By linking the two technologies, it will now be able to compare planned vs actual routes and better understand delivery performance.

To allow road transport operators to improve the execution of forward and dynamic plans, as well as keep customers informed of any unexpected delays or potential issues.

Jason Laight, head of indirect sales at Ctrack by Inseego, said: “We are seeing unprecedented demand for greater visibility from road transport operators looking to cut costs, increase service levels and boost operational productivity, so integrated vehicle tracking and route planning is increasingly appealing.

“Working closely with MaxOptra, we have already signed a number of contracts for integrated solutions that deliver simplified route optimisation, smarter fleet management and innovative customer communications.”

High praise for convertor CoolKit

VMS Fleet Management has offered high praise for refrigerated van manufacturer CoolKit for its rapid response service amidst the Covid-19 pandemic.

VMS Fleet Management works with a variety of supermarkets in the UK, supplying refrigerated and standard vehicles on both a fully managed and maintained basis.

The coronavirus crisis prompted a huge growth in online shopping and home delivery services, meaning fleets needed to expand to fit consumer demand.

Due to a large influx of orders, VMS Fleet Management required external support to help convert vehicles quickly and efficiently.

VMS had worked with CoolKit on 300 conversions over the last three years.

While CoolKit was operating with a skeleton workforce, they were ‘instantly on board’.

Martin James, managing director at VMS Fleet Management, said: “CoolKit was able to pull together their teams and work to deliver the required converts to our vehicles, while also keeping their workforce safe in an extremely unprecedented environment.

“We knew we could rely on them to provide fast, quality services to meet ours and our clients’ needs, and we thank them for mobilising so quickly to assist us.”

VMS Fleet Management sent 80 of the required vans to CoolKit; a mix of Citroen Relays, Renault Masters, Mercedes Sprinters, so that they could convert 10 per week.

The 80 vans converted by CoolKit were distributed by VMS to a wide range of customers including food service businesses, supermarkets and online retailers.

Glenn McCulley, sales and marketing director at CoolKit, said: “VMS needed a partner who was still open for business and who could carry out builds at speed. We responded as one of the few convertors open and were ready to pull out all the stops to complete the conversions for such a loyal customer.”

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