We don’t often get the opportunity to try converted vehicles in Fleet Van, so we were delighted when O & H offered us a week in its latest welfare bus.
O & H is better known for its ambulance conversions, but is keen to broaden its range of vehicles so has recently begun selling the Wellbus.
The van we tried was based on the Citroën Relay, but O & H southern area sales manager Russ Boulton says the company can carry out the conversion on any van.
The Relay used here is the 130hp 2.2 HDi L3 H2 with a 3.5 tonne gross vehicle weight, while the weight of the converted van is around 2.8 tonnes.
Perhaps the most striking feature of the conversion on first glance is the high quality.
There are five seats (each with their own three-point seat-belt, crash tested and insurance approved) around a table in the rear; the one closest to the door folds away for easier access. The colour scheme of the non-slip floor, seats and tables can be chosen to match a company’s own corporate colours.
It contains a microwave, sink and water heater. The water heater can be timed, and there is a diesel-fuelled auxiliary parking heater.
The rear compartment has an on-board chemical toilet, running water and an area to store tools. The area is ventilated and can be heated, drying wet clothes overnight if necessary. The hard-wearing non-slip surface can also be hosed out for thorough cleaning.
There is a rear-view camera with a display screen contained in the rear-view mirror, as well as a reversing alert for people outside the vehicle, and a microphone to help the driver listen for what might be in the van’s rearward path as well as using the camera to see.
On the road there is barely a sound from the extra equipment on board, testament to the quality of the conversion and the items used. The 130hp engine has more than enough grunt to keep pace with traffic.
The cost of the conversion would depend on the vehicle used and the exact specification. The price of the Relay-based Wellbus we evaluated was about £26,000 (excluding VAT), which is just £1,000 higher than the list price of the base van (Citroen Relay 35 L3H2 HDi 130).
Boulton said O & H can use good relationships with dealers to negotiate attractive prices on the base vehicle so the cost of the converted van remains attractive.