Five Mile adds to green credentials with five new eVito vans

Recycling company First Mile has become one of the first customers to take delivery of fully electric Mercedes-Benz eVito vans since members of the manufacturer’s UK retail network began taking orders for the model in January.

First Mile has taken on five long bodied eVito PURE L2s, which were supplied by S & B Commercials and produce zero tailpipe emissions. Each offers a payload allowance of 923kg and 6.0m3 of load volume capacity. The 41kWh battery is securely mounted in a protective housing beneath the floor, so does not impinge on the cargo area. At 93 miles, the average range between charges is more than sufficient for most city-based applications.

The eVito’s electric motor produces 114hp and drives the front wheels via a single-speed automatic transmission. Acceleration is instantaneous, while top speed is restricted to 50mph, 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.

Highbury, north London-based First Mile is a specialist provider of recycling services to more than 27,000 businesses in London and Birmingham. The company was established in 2004 by founder and CEO Bruce Bratley and now boasts a £30 million turnover and employs 150 drivers.

First Mile’s second depot in Park Royal, west London, is home to its Sacktory, an award-winning pre-sorting facility which runs on 100% renewable energy, and it has a smaller base in Birmingham. The company has a zero-to-landfill policy, and anything that cannot be recycled is transformed into renewable energy.

Transport manager Michal Szuminski is responsible for a fleet of 82 trucks and vans, which includes several Mercedes-Benz Sprinters. “Our experience of running those vans has been entirely positive,” he said. “However, we are now focused on progressing as early as possible to an entirely zero-emission fleet.

“We’ve been looking forward to the arrival of the Mercedes-Benz eVito as its size and carrying capacity offer the perfect solution for our inner-city operations, where we have a number of busy rounds concentrated in small areas.”

First Mile’s customers purchase sacks, which are colour-coded to ensure separation of different waste streams. The eVito drivers deliver empty sacks, as well as collecting filled ones from commercial premises throughout the capital’s Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) and beyond.

The 3.2-tonne gvw eVito has three seats and, like its diesel-engined stablemate, sliding load doors on both sides, as well as a choice of side-hinged doors or a tailgate at the rear, ensuring easy access to the cargo area.

Four recuperation levels allow customers to optimise power consumption and thus extend the eVito’s range. Recuperative energy is recovered during deceleration. So, for example, the vehicle charges its battery when braking on descents, instead of losing energy in the form of heat.

“We love electric vehicles here at First Mile, and our drivers are delighted with their new Mercedes-Benz vans,” added Szuminski. “I’ve never had any doubts about the eVito’s ability to do the work and contribute to our own green credentials.”

S & B Commercials’ business development manager and electric vehicle consultant Dean Hadden secured the order. Like all Mercedes-Benz vans, the latest additions to the First Mile fleet came with MobiloVan cover, which includes free emergency roadside assistance. “Dean’s customer-focused service and the high level of back-up gives me every confidence that we’ve made the right decision,” said Szuminski.

The vehicle is fully recharged in six hours from a wall box or at a charging station using a Type-2 connection. The batteries of First Mile’s eVito vans are restored to full capacity from the renewable Octopus Energy source, which also powers its Park Royal Sacktory.

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Dan Parton
Dan Parton
Dan Parton is a former editor of Truck & Driver, the UK’s biggest selling truck magazine. He is now the editor of our three commercial vehicle titles: The Van Expert, The Truck Expert and Commercial Vehicle Engineer.

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