The Mercedes-Benz eVito was the top-quality choice when UK budget hotel giant Travelodge checked-in its first set of ‘green’ electric vans.
Travelodge has enhanced its environmental credentials by commissioning two of the ground-breaking vehicles, which combine a competitive carrying capacity with zero tailpipe emissions.
Supplied by Dealer Midlands Truck & Van, both of Travelodge’s new vans will be based in London and assigned to a multi-disciplined maintenance team responsible for the upkeep of its hotels. Travelodge is one of the largest hotel chains in London, and operates 77 properties across the capital.
The Mercedes-Benz eVito represents a major advance on the road to “the electric future” envisaged by Travelodge on the livery applied to its new vehicles. Crucially, it allows operators to meet their emissions-busting targets without having to compromise on practicality or performance.
The eVito has a gross weight of 3.2 tonnes and a range of approximately 93 miles. The vehicle comes with three seats and, like its diesel-engined stablemate, sliding load doors on both sides.
Travelodge’s eVito vans are both long L2 PURE variants which offer up to 6.0m3 of cargo area, and a payload allowance of 923 kg. 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.
Travelodge is one of the UK’s largest independent hotel chains and operates 590 properties across the UK, Ireland and Spain. It is one of the few hotel chains to have invested in its own, nationwide maintenance team.
Scott Rutherford, Travelodge Director of Technical Services, said: “Our mission is to deliver affordable travel for everyone, and to become a Greener Travelodge. We are delighted to be one of the first UK companies to choose the new Mercedes-Benz eVito, which drives like a dream. We are one of the biggest hotel chains in London, and these electric vans will certainly help us to reduce our carbon footprint.”
Travelodge’s new vans are the subject of a Mercedes-Benz Finance contract hire agreement. eVito operators benefit from the low cost of electricity compared to diesel and petrol, as well as favourable tax rates and E-mobility support programmes.
Van Sales Manager Gez O’Reilly and his Midlands Truck & Van colleague, Van Sales Executive Josh Yarnell, secured for their customer the maximum available grant from the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) prior to handover, relieving Mr Rutherford and his colleagues of the hassle of having to do so retrospectively.
The reduction in the capital cost of the two vehicles is reflected in the attractively priced monthly contract hire rates. So, too, is the fact that the relative simplicity of its electric motor means the eVito’s maintenance and repair costs are substantially lower than those of a vehicle with combustion engine.
“The eVito is the ideal size for our maintenance engineers, and we’ll now be monitoring the performance of these first two electric vans closely to see how this technology can be applied more widely across our business,” added Mr Rutherford.
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 as standard 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.
Fully recharged in six hours from a wall box or at a charging station using a Type-2 connection, the 41 kWh battery is securely mounted in a protective housing beneath the cargo floor, so does not impinge on the load area. The eVito’s range – 90-plus miles is comfortably enough for the overwhelming majority of city-based applications – is supplemented by recuperative charging, but will be reduced by constant driving with a full load.
The eVito comes with Mercedes PRO connect as standard. This advanced manufacturer solution 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.