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January is to see the start of a new van safety campaign launched by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) in an attempt to improve van safety.

The DVSA is taking a look at the way that they approach prohibitive fines and notices, and is focusing on the relationship between van operator and driver education. Instead of coming down on people like a sword of Damocles issuing fines and penalties, they are hoping to encourage a ‘self-help’ attitude towards vehicular safety compliance.

Instead the DVSA is suggesting that fleet operators and drivers could go some way towards compliance themselves by taking a short 10 minute walk around the vehicle before undertaking journeys. This vehicle check should primarily focus on bodywork condition, breaks and tyres.

Gordon MacDonald, Head of Enforcement Policy at VOSA (Vehicle and Operator Services Agency) has said, “That would solve a multitude of problems”, he also went on to explain how vehicle mechanical condition and vehicle overloading were key DVSA concerns, alongside a 50% MoT van failure rate.

MacDonald also stated that, “We want to encourage operators not to think about the sheer volume, but the weight and distribution of the goods and materials being carried. It is easy to sort out.” Having the vehicle loaded heavily in an incorrect fashion can lead to unnecessary wear-and-tear on certain parts of the vehicle; these can all be factors that attribute towards the vehicle failing it's MoT, or not being compliant with safety standards.

The DVSA have also released a van walk around checklist that fleet operators and drivers can use to give their vehicles a once over, thus helping to ensure that their vans are somewhat geared towards the vehicular safety compliance.

Of course this won’t replace proper maintenance undertaken by a trained professional but it will go towards familiarising the driver with the vehicle and can act as an early warning system towards any potential issues that the vehicle may have in the future.

Also, making sure that you have the correct van insurance policy for your vehicle will go a long way to making sure that everything is up to code.

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Van Safety Walk Around Checks

Volkswagen van owners can take their commercial vehicles to VW’s van service centres for a free winter health check.

Volkswagen camper in snowUp until 28th February 2015 owners of the VW Caddy, Crafter and Transporter vehicles are eligible for a 29-point check involving the battery, lights, wipers and tyres – plus a number of visual checks.

Kevin Rendell, Head of Service and Parts at Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles UK says, "Ensuring your vehicle is safe for the roads throughout winter is extremely important to prevent accidents and breakdowns.

"We are providing these free checks as a preventative measure as minimising downtime is crucial for our customers."

According to a survey undertaken by Auto Express more than 30 per cent of British drivers do nothing to prepare their vehicle for winter. This figure is verified by breakdown cover providers, who typically see an increase in callouts over the winter months.

So, thanks to Volkswagen, if you own one of their commercial vehicles you can get a free winter health check-up to ensure that your vehicle is in tip-top condition for the colder months.

Consider it an early Christmas present!

Iveco are set to release a new special edition of their immensely popular Daily van model, the ‘Platinum’.

This latest incarnation is designed to appeal to owner-drivers who are looking to combine the great features and functionality that the Daily already offers, but with added style and comfort.

Iveco Platinum Daily

The new vehicles come fitted with the top-level options pack that Iveco offers as standard; this includes electric windows, air conditioning with climate control, cruise-control, heated electric mirrors, a spring-suspended driver’s seat and many other useful features.

As an added bonus each model comes fitted with the super high-tech Clarion NX502E entertainment centre built-in. This top-end entertainment system features a 6.2” high-resolution display paired with satellite navigation, Bluetooth connectivity, reversing cameras with rear sensors – all of this can be controlled with the vehicle’s wireless remote controller.

The manufacturers have also included a five-year Iveco elements servicing contract with every Platinum Daily – this comes with a mileage allowance of 40,000 km per annum which is transferrable between owners. Servicing, routine checks, greasing, oil changes and fluids are also included.

Plus Iveco are offering Iveco Origin replacement parts should anything need replacing. Owners are also entitled to the Daily’s standard three-year unlimited mile warranty.

The Product Director at Iveco, Martin Flach, says: “With Platinum Daily, we’ve taken a winning package in the fleet sector and fine-tuned it to offer additional luxuries for the retail customer.”

For more information on the Iveco Platinum Daily visit the Iveco website to get full details of the vehicle specifications and features - Iveco Daily Platinum.

Renault are making a play towards providing the nation’s best electrical commercial vehicle – yes, the Kangoo ZE shows they’re taking things seriously.

The French vehicle manufacturer are now offering the battery as an additional extra that is available for purchase at an additional £3,166, higher than the £16,161 plus VAT after the Government’s new Plug-In grant.

This brings the Kangoo ZE within the price range of the Nissan e-NV200 which is priced at around £16,562 – an extra £3,169 more than the battery lease agreement.

These newer offerings are referred to as ‘full purchase models’ and are protected by a five-year/60,000 mile warranty on the batteries, a tasty addition to the standard four-year/100,000 mile vehicle protection that Renault offers as standard.

Renault Kangoo

Hire deals are also changing

For those who aren’t looking to buy the batteries outright there is still the option of a lease hire. Hire agreements have also seen a reduction in costs and are currently £33 plus VAT per month, whereas the hire of the battery would have cost you £61 plus VAT previously.

Batteries on the lease agreement are still covered by a Lifetime Performance Guarantee which means that they will be replaced or repaired if they fall below 75 per cent of their original capacity – luckily this guarantee also covers you if you run out of charge when away from a charging point.

Renault have already sold a total of 2,000 electric vehicles in the UK and currently offer the widest range of all-electric vehicles available for purchase.

It is also possible to make a saving on your yearly ‘vannual’ outgoings by making sure that you get the best possible Renault Kangoo Van Insurance cover possible.

FRUIT 4 LONDON is one of the latest businesses to take part in the ‘Nissan e-NV200 £2 Challenge’. This challenge tests the e-NV200, the new electric commercial vehicle from Nissan.

The challenge is for a user to run their busy daily routine using the e-NV200 across London and see just how far a full charge would take them, it is worth noting that a full overnight charge costs just £2.

Nissan e-NV200

The e-NV200 is the electric sibling to the Nissan NV200, a former winner of the ‘International Van of the Year’ award and is running from British-built Nissan LEAF technology, which is behind the world’s bestselling electric car.

The new vehicle can cover 106 miles on a single charge and can be charged from zero to 80 per cent battery in as little as 30 minutes, the vehicle also costs only 2 pence per mile to run.

The e-NV200 also has the benefits of not being effected by the congestion charge, there’s no road tax to pay and there are less moving parts within the vehicle, so there’s less to go wrong, all of which helps to make you more efficient.

Here’s a small video by Nissan showing the Director of FRUIT 4 LONDON, Laszlo Mulato together with TV personality Tommy Walsh as the pair do a days’ worth of deliveries in the Nissan e-NV200.

Electric vehicles are becoming more common although still not an established part of the mainstream vehicles market. However, we can definitely see the benefits of running an electric vehicle for daily jobs, especially in London where substantial savings can be made yearly.

Besides running an environmentally friendly van, how else can you save money? Well iVan insurance can help you to lower the costs of your van insurance by giving you a competitive quote for your vehicle.