First Mile charges ahead with five zero-emission Mercedes-Benz eVito vans
A multi-award-winning recycler has become one of the first customers to take delivery of fully electric Mercedes-Benz eVito vans since members of the manufacturer’s UK Retail network began taking orders for the ground-breaking model in January.
Leading recycling company First Mile’s five long-bodied eVito PURE L2s were supplied by Dealer S & B Commercials and produce zero tailpipe emissions. Each offers a payload allowance of 923 kg and competitive 6.0m3 of load volume capacity – the 41 kWh battery is securely mounted in a protective housing beneath the floor, so does not impinge on the cargo area. At 93 miles, the average range between charges is more than sufficient for the majority of city-based applications.
A specialist provider of recycling services to more than 27,000 businesses in London and Birmingham, First Mile was established in 2004 by founder and CEO Bruce Bratley. It now boasts a £30 million turnover and employs 150 drivers, as well as a head office team of more than 100 committed environmentalists.
First Mile operates from headquarters in Highbury, north London. A second depot in Park Royal, west London, is home to its Sacktory®, an award-winning pre-sorting facility which runs on 100% renewable energy, and it has a smaller base in Birmingham. The company has a zero-to-landfill policy, and anything that cannot be recycled is transformed into renewable energy.
Transport Manager Michal Szuminski is responsible for a fleet of 82 trucks and vans, which includes several Mercedes-Benz Sprinters. “Our experience of running those vans has been entirely positive,” he confirmed. “However, we are now focused on progressing as early as possible to an entirely zero-emission fleet.”
He continued: “We’ve been looking forward to the arrival of the Mercedes-Benz eVito as its size and carrying capacity offer the perfect solution for our inner-city operations, where we have a number of busy rounds concentrated in small areas.”
First Mile’s customers purchase sacks, which are colour-coded to ensure separation of different waste streams. The eVito drivers deliver empty sacks, as well as collecting filled ones from commercial premises throughout the capital’s Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) and beyond.
The 3.2-tonne gvw eVito has three seats and, like its diesel-engined stablemate, sliding load doors on both sides, as well as a choice of side-hinged doors or a tailgate at the rear, ensuring easy access to the cargo area.
Four recuperation levels allow customers to optimize power consumption and thus extend the eVito’s range. Recuperative energy is recovered during deceleration. So, for example, the vehicle charges its battery when braking on descents, instead of losing energy in the form of heat.
“We love electric vehicles here at First Mile, and our drivers are delighted with their new Mercedes-Benz vans,” declared Mr Szuminski. “I’ve never had any doubts about the eVito’s ability to do the work, and contribute to our own green credentials.”
First Mile operates on a round-the-clock basis, 365 days a year. “The fact that we never close means trusted partners are particularly important,” he continued. “In the unlikely event that something goes wrong, I need to know I can pick up the phone at any time of the day or night and get an immediate response.”
S & B Commercials’ Business Development Manager and Electric Vehicle Consultant Dean Hadden secured the prestigious order. Like all Mercedes-Benz vans, the latest additions to the First Mile fleet came with MobiloVan cover, which includes free emergency roadside assistance. “Dean’s customer-focused service and the high level of back-up gives me every confidence that we’ve made the right decision,” said Mr Szuminski.
The eVito’s electric motor produces 114 hp and drives the front wheels via a single-speed automatic transmission. Acceleration is instantaneous, while top speed is restricted to 50 mph (80 km/h), although this can be increased on request. The column-mounted selector allows drivers to choose between C, E and E+ (Comfort, Eco and Extended range) settings.
The vehicle is fully recharged in six hours from a wall box or at a charging station using a Type-2 connection. The batteries of First Mile’s eVito vans are restored to full capacity from the renewable Octopus Energy source which also powers its Park Royal Sacktory®.
Standard specification on all Mercedes-Benz Vito models with the PURE trimline includes a height and rake adjustable steering wheel; Hill Start Assist; electrically adjustable heated exterior mirrors; wood flooring; and an adaptive brake light. eVito variants also come with Mercedes PRO connect technology; a heated drivers’ seat; TEMPMATIC air conditioning; a 4.0-metre charging cable; and a CanTrack vehicle tracker.
The eVito PURE is also available in extra-long L3 form, with a 6.6m3 load volume and 898 kg carrying capacity. eVito versions with the PROGRESSIVE trimline benefit from extra features, both internally and externally, but incur corresponding slight payload reductions.
Mercedes PRO connect provides operators with an array of fast, efficient and cost-effective vehicle management service packages. Vehicle data is analysed in real time – everything from fuel consumption to vehicle locations, trip history, maintenance status and driver behaviour can be monitored. Dedicated electric features allow customers, for example, to locate a charge station, optimise route planning, remotely check the charge status of the vehicle, and pre-condition its temperature ahead of the journey.
The Mercedes-Benz eVito is eligible for the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) Grant, which means customers can save up to £8,000 from a 20% reduction on the vehicle purchase price.