Ultra-light van bodies will be ideal for home delivery market

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Coventry-based engineering specialist Penso is to launch a range of new ultra-lightweight 3.5-tonne delivery vans for the booming home delivery market, writes George Barrow.

Based on the front-wheel-drive Mercedes-Benz Sprinter with a medium-wheelbase, the Penso Blue Ocean Home Delivery Pod offers multi-temperature delivery with the prospect of increased payload and volume.

The Blue Ocean Pods – which are almost 100% recyclable and made from re-processed plastic bottles – are said to be capable of moving 50% more than a benchmarked rival thanks to its 1,250kg payload.

While the comparisons are drawn against one of its heaviest rivals in the sector, Penso claims its e-Grocery Pod version, which will be launched alongside an e-Delivery Pod based on a Luton van, can also transport 140 supermarket totes with the launch vehicle holding 72 ambient totes, 45 chilled totes and 23 frozen totes.

Penso eventually aims to produce 30 different body types on multiple wheelbases and chassis from its 12,000 sq metre facility which also produces the conversions for the Mercedes-Benz Vito taxi as well as specialist carbon fibre products across the automotive sector, railway, aviation and defence.

“Throughout our years of manufacturing carbon fibres, one of the key statements coming from customers is that they can’t afford it, it’s too expensive as a material,” explained Penso MD Daniel Hurcombe. “We’ve spent hundreds of thousands of man-hours to make carbon fibre affordable for the wider market and have managed to develop a commercial grade of carbon fibre that works across industries.

“We’re taking the knowledge we’ve gained over the past ten years of aerospace, motorsport and rail to see how we can move the home delivery market forward.”

The body uses a press-cored sandwich panel created in the same way as Penso makes its tube train door – which are designed to last more than 40 years. The Pods have a 10 year life expectancy during which Penso predicts it could save operators as much as £2,400 per annum.

Comparison testing of the aerodynamic body showed the vehicle averaging more than 32mpg on urban routes, compared to a competitor’s 25mpg. Combined with increased productivity, Penso estimate annual savings of more than £6,700 per van, with one supermarket already set to take a larger order.

Its long lifespan means the product its set to have a monthly cost equivalent to that of a traditional body, when it goes on general sale next month.

Penso expects to sell 1,000 bodied vehicles in the next 12 months and hopes to reach 10,000 units per year within three years.

The post Ultra-light van bodies will be ideal for home delivery market appeared first on Motor Transport.

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