Electric Vans, Big Trucks and a Full English Breakfast

Ten to Eight, I am standing at the gates of the largest commercial vehicle show in Europe in 2011. Birmingham awaits. I had a wonderful English breakfast baked beans with bacon and eggs, a perfect start to an exciting day in England’s second largest city.

08First on the hit list is the Mercedes-Benz stand. The vehicles are presented to the appreciative public lots of visitors from all around the country have turned up to see the stars of the show. Two vehicles in particular have attracted the attention of the visitors. The huge Actros Mega Space and new Vito E-Cell, which is celebrating its UK debut. Quick as a flash camera and sound are ready for the first shot.The first interviewee is Scott Edwards, one of the specialists at Mercedes-Benz Vans. He told me all about the new release, the Vito E-Cell and of its intended use on the English market.

Out of the Vito E-Cell and I have the next Mercedes-Benz in sight, the Sprinter NGT. The tanks under the chassis of the natural gas vehicle set it apart from its petrol or diesel brother. Scott Edwards is also there to answer my questions. We talk about the efficient powertrain technology, and he tells me of the benefits of this alternative drive vehicle.

As I move through the crowd, I spot another eye-catcher: The Fuso Canter. This simple light truck has all the advantages needed to be a reliable working partner. Chris Griffiths gives me a closer look at the vehicle. Together, we check out the cab and talk about the towing and loading capabilities of the light truck.

Afterwards I had a chat with some of the visitors at the Mercedes-Benz stand and find out that the vehicles impress just about everyone. The Vito E-Cell has left a particularly lasting impression with its new design and environmentally friendly drive technology, the electric van is a clear favorite.
I continue my way through the CV Show to pay the other 200 exhibitors a visit.

Here I meet Geoff Allison, Managing Director of Smith Electric Vehicles Europe. Smith is the largest electric vehicle manufacturer in the world. In my chat with Geoff he told me about his products and about his visions for the future, both the strengths and weaknesses of electric vehicles and what needs to happen to pave the way for the zero-emission future.

A little later I come across another new product launch. The Ford Ranger 2011, a true powerhouse!
Outfitted with two different engine variations and plenty of cargo area the pick-up has been improved in terms of safety and technology. I was joined by Steve Clary, who explained all the innovations. For example now in the new Ranger are a rear view camera, the screen of which is integrated into the rear view mirror and several new airbags. A fantastic toy for mud and dirt. And with that the first day at the CV Show in Birmingham came to a close.

At the end of the day, you are left with the impression that all manufacturers are implementing green drives, whether hybrid, natural gas or electricity, the development of alternative engines and more efficient components is firmly on the agenda.

After over ten hours of the CV Show, I’m looking forward a pleasant evening at a traditional pub and you can look forward to the new posts on the blog. Click on myvan.com to check them out.
There you will find all information about vans and trucks, including new programs from the Commercial Vehicle Show, 2011.

Stay tuned.

Neil O’Sullivan for myvan.com