Amidst challenges such as rising fuel prices, a shift away from diesel and increased consumer demand, the commercial vehicle market is gearing up for a busy 2022.
One of the few industries to boom as a result of the pandemic was logistics. With more people at home, online orders soared, which meant more and more people moving the goods around the country and then distributing to the customers.
While the trucks and vans doing the hard miles were predominantly diesel-powered, the manufacturers were busy developing new models for the future. With manufacturers recently updating their ICE-powered product lineups, alternative fuels are now the order of the day
Mercedes-Benz revealed that its eEconic would enter production in 2022. The low-entry vehicle, popular with urban operators, will be built in Wörth, Germany, at the same location where the company builds the eActros.
The UK’s largest truck manufacturer, DAF, was one of the quickest off the mark and saw CF Electrics enter service at various operators across the country and beyond in 2021. During 2022, a UK government trial of 20 LF Electric will take place, run by Leyland Trucks. The aim of the trial is to get a better understanding of zero-emission driving by studying the data from the 19-tonne vehcles.
There will also be new players joining the market. For example, there’s Volta Trucks – an electric truck brand that has been teasing its 16-tonne Zero model for some time. This fully electric model, which offers a driving range of between 150-200km (95-125 miles), will be with customers by the middle of the year.
Operators already signed up include DB Schenker – who ordered 1,470 vehicles in November – and Petit Forestier. The latter will add 1,000 Volta Zeros to its fleet in 2022.
Meanwhile, Volta has also announced that engineering work has started on 7.5- and 12-tonne Zero models. A pilot fleet of the smaller models is planned for 2023, with customer deliveries scheduled for 2024.
Arrival is aiming to also break into the heavier end of the commercial vehicle sector this year. Another electric-only brand, Arrival already has bus and large van options, with two options for the latter. The Walk-in van is designed to serve the urban delivery market, with a sliding door to increase visibility and ease of access. The other variant is the Cargo van, a multi-purpose model for all sectors and needs.
Both can be customised with a range of overall vehicle sizes and wheelbases, while the two models both have a maximum gross vehicle weight of 4,250kg.
At the lighter end of the market, some key launches are planned for this year, such as Ford, which will introduce its long-awaited E-Transit in the spring. The vehicle manufacturer is claiming a ‘class-leading’ driving range of 217 miles, plus a 2.3kW power supply for tools onboard the vehicle.
Another manufacturer to continue the shift of its range to battery power is Renault. Already offering a wide range of electric vans, the French manufacturer will launch a revised Master – now called the Master E-Tech Electric – with a 52kW battery. The powertrain will enable a driving range of up to 121 miles, while the 22kW charger will replenish the battery to 80% within two hours.
A new all-electric version of the Mercedes-Benz Citan is also set to arrive in 2022. Customers will have the choice of two vehicle lengths and a crew cab. Power will come from a75kW motor, driven by the van’s 44kWh battery pack.