What does the Ultra Low Emission Zone mean for small businesses?
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has revealed his plans for the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ), which will require heavy diesel vehicles to pay a daily charge if they wish to drive in central London.
Under the ULEZ's rules, diesel vans, cars, and motorbikes that don't meet the Euro 6 environmental standard will have to pay a daily charge of £12.50 to enter the zone. The same charge applies to petrol vehicles that don't meet the Euro 4 standards. Meanwhile, HGVs, buses, and coaches that don't meet the standards will be required to pay a fee of £100 per day. Keep in mind that these charges are on top of the congestion charge – which is £11.50.
The zone is planned to come into force on April 8, 2019. Starting in central London (the same area as the existing Congestion Charge zone), the ULEZ's scope is set to then widen across Greater London in 2020 and then to the North and South circular roads in 2021.
Air pollution in London has always been a major problem. Within the first five days of 2017, the city managed to breach its annual air pollution limit for nitrogen dioxide (NO2), which is mainly produced by diesel vehicles. "The air in London is lethal and I will not stand by and do nothing," Khan has said.
And while it's clearly important that all necessary measures for improving the capital's air quality are taken, there have been some concerns over what the ULEZ could mean for small businesses who rely on such vehicles to operate. Some think that Khan has given SMEs a nearly impossibly short time frame to adapt their fleets to the new system, and the cost of the transition may be too much for some businesses.
The Freight Transport Association (FTA), which represents the views of companies in the transport industry, has described the plans as "troubling" for small businesses operating in London. Natalie Chapman, FTA's head of policy for London and the south-east, said that the plans would "seriously disadvantage" companies, particularly van drivers, as it would impose unnecessary and "potentially crippling" costs on them as they try to make sure their fleets are compliant within a very short time frame.
Because of this issue, the FTA is advocating for van drivers to have a sunset period, similar to the three-year period that has already been offered to private residents living in the ULEZ, allowing them to have a discount on the fee. This would give them more time to ensure their fleets fit within the ULEZ's standards.
Chapman also voiced her support for the diesel scrappage scheme that the mayor has previously called for. The scheme will see drivers paid up to £3,500 so that they can scrap their existing diesel vehicles and replace them with more environmentally-friendly motors. Such a scheme would help relieve the financial burden on small businesses.
"At a time when London's businesses face an increasingly challenging trading environment, the mayor should be taking every possible step to help the capital's small businesses," Chapman said.
Coping with costs is always going to be a big worry for SMEs. The FTA has promised to continue exerting pressure on the mayor to consider the van drivers most affected by the ULEZ so that they're not faced with unrealistic costs.
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Nissan installs new driver-monitoring tech in its vans
Nissan Europe is teaming up with Telogis, a Verizon-owned company providing software for fleet management, to create a new service that utilises telematics technology for their commercial customers.
The new service is called NissanConnect and will enable fleet operators to view and analyse their drivers' data by connecting the vehicle to the Telogis' Mobile Resource Management software platform. Viewing this data will then hopefully allow operators to make better informed business decisions
The use of telematics is often implemented as a way of monitoring how well the vehicle has been driven as well as tracking its location. For these reasons, insurance providers tend to market it as a cost-effective solution for drivers, especially young drivers, who want to reduce the price of their premium by proving that they're a responsible driver.
Nissan are hoping that the new service, NissanConnect, will encourage van drivers to remain diligent over their fuel consumption and improve the efficiency of their service. The motoring giant is hoping that this will allow them to keep up with the consumer's ever-increasing demand for a fast, quality delivery service, as well as adapting to vehicle restrictions introduced by major cities. Now that HGVs are increasingly banned from city centres, there is a need for systems which use light commercial vehicles in the most resourceful ways possible.
Phillipe Guerin-Boutard, the corporate vice president for Nissan's Global LCV Business Unit, commented on the benefits he hopes the changes will bring. "The time has come for Nissan commercial customers to benefit from the visibility and operational intelligence they gain from connecting their business. From empowering workers on the road and In the field to help them be safer and more efficient, to optimising daily delivery routes, NissanConnect Fleet will have a transformational effect on the way Nissan customers do business.
The service is expected to launch in Europe at some point this autumn. The van models that will support NissanConnect will be the Navara One Ton pick-up, NV200, e-NV200, and NT400 Cabstar. More vehicles are planned to join the scheme later.
Could services such as NissanConnect become as essential for fleet operators as having reliable commercial van insurance? It will be interesting to see how effective the telematics technology is for commercial vehicles. In the meantime, make sure your fleet of commercial vehicles is properly protected on the road by getting a quote with iVan today.
Fiat's new Talento van on sale now from £19,795
Fiat's new Professional Talento medium panel van has been released.
Based on the same platform as the Vauxhall Vivaro/Renault Trafic, and built by Renault in France, the new Talento starts at £19,975 for the 1.6-litre MultiJet 95hp SWB standard roof van (price excludes VAT and any OTR charges).
There's a 1.6-litre MultiJet 120hp SWB that's priced at £20,195, a twin-turbo 1.6-litre EcoJet 125hp S&S which comes priced at £20,645. The high-end twin-turbo 1.6-litre EcoJet 145hp S&S is priced from £21,245.
The entry-level Talento features remote central locking, electric front windows (one-touch lowering on the driver’s side), electrically operated and heated door mirrors, a full bulkhead, a height adjustable driver’s seat with lumbar support and an arm rest, dual passenger seat, a powerful audio system with Bluetooth, DAB, USB, Aux-in, a full-size spare wheel and steering-wheel remote controls all as standard. You'll also find the inclusion of LED daytime running lights, ABS with EBD (electronic brake distribution) and EBA (emergency brake assistance) in addition to a sophisticated ESC system with Hill Holder and Traction+ fitted also included as standard.
Also available is a long-wheelbase variant that's priced from £21,395 (1.6 MultiJet 120hp, a crew van version that starts at £21,145 (1.6 MultiJet 95hp), a platform cab is also available from £21,545 (1.6 EcoJet 125hp S&S) and finally a Combi van is priced from £21,885 (1.6 MultiJet 95hp).
GSF Car Parts adds the Volkswagen Caddy to its fleet
GSF Car Parts will be putting the Volkswagen Caddy to good use in new plans to up their business's effectiveness. The automobile component supplier are adding 10 of the vehicles to its existing fleet.
The new additions, according to Tyrepress, are to increase the number of local trade customer deliveries. The main reason behind the company's choice was the model's cost-effectiveness, as the Caddy provides sufficient load capacity and better fuel economy.
In a bid to further improve productivity and help avoid the time-consuming claims process, each of the vans will include a trackable forward-facing camera. The operations director at GSF car parts, Dave Lewis, commented on the reasons behind the decision to use the new technology. "The in-vehicle cameras bring a range of benefits. We can monitor the vans to discover potential for route or workload optimisations that may boost efficiency."
"Also, in the unfortunate event of any road traffic accidents the cameras can provide valuable information. If GSF can avoid falling victim to spurious claims, and therefore keep our insurance premiums as low as possible, the cost savings ultimately benefit our garage customers."
The popular Caddy has been serving van drivers for generations, and the extra feature of the on-board cameras may well prove to be a vital inclusion for GSF, just as it is likely to be for many other companies that own and operate a large fleet of commercial vehicles. Insurance claims from others can be the ruination of any van-based business if they are not properly prepared for, and anything that helps disprove the driver's liability in cases where they were not at fault will surely be an invaluable tool.
Whatever industry you operate in, and no matter what your van of choice is or if it has a built-in camera, there is always the need for van insurance. iVan offers reliable any driver van insurance for tradesman across the country.
Images of Volkswagen's new Crafter commercial vehicle have been released
The first images of Volkswagen's new Crafter have been revealed.
Due to be launched this autumn the Crafter is a completely new vehicle. Albert-Johann Kirzinger, Head of Design at Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles has commented on the new vehicle saying, "In the commercial vehicle sector especially, design has got to work for lots of different customer groups."
Kirzinger also stated, "Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles' T-series, the 'Bulli', is effectively being given a 'big brother' through the introduction of the new Crafter. With the Crafter, a level of surface quality, robustness and at the same time high qualitative value are achieved that have never before been available in this commercial vehicle class."
A press release from Volkswagen reveals that 'Experts at Volkswagen Commercial vehicles have worked closely with current customers, frequently accompanying them during their daily routines, to explore their needs and find out their visions of what they wanted the new Crafter to be, allowing them to help shape the new generation.'
'At 0.33, the new Crafter has a best in class drag coefficient; and inside it combines great everyday practicality with optimum cargo space. The new design language shown on the Crafter will continue across all new commercial vehicle derivatives and models.'