Features & Interviews

Watt a development: How commercial vehicle dealers are creating EV friendly facilities

09 March 2023 #Features & Interviews

Amidst the business-as-usual CV dealership activities of takeovers, newly launched sites and fresh facilities, there is one noticeable emergent trend: the number of locations designed to cater for the growing number of EVs entering the marketplace.

At the beginning of this year, dealer group Rygor Commercials opened its new £2 million branch in Reading, with a workshop able to fully maintain electric truck models such as Fuso’s eCanter and Mercedes-Benz Trucks’s eEconic and eActros.

With 44,000 sq ft of space, the new branch on the Worton Grange Industrial Park is a two-minute drive to junction 11 of the M4 and located a short distance from Rygor’s original Reading site.

It is also complete with two separate truck pits and an ATF lane, tacho facilities and extensive hard standing in the workshop area.

The site also features a specialist van workshop, with a bespoke MOT lane and a ‘fast fit’ area focusing on express maintenance such as wiper blade changes, tyre tracking and wheel changes.

Reading also offers the full range of new and used Mercedes-Benz Vans, including the eSprinter and eVito panel vans, the eVito Tourer and the eCitan.

John Keogh, Rygor Managing Director, said: “Our new showroom in Reading is the perfect shop window for the impressive range of traditional and electric vans, and our expert sales team continues to work with our customers, to offer forward-thinking and value added vehicle solutions to meet their business needs.

“As we continue to see more of our customers trying to reduce their carbon footprint, we will stay ahead of the game, offering solutions and sales expertise to businesses in the Reading area, supporting them with test drives of electric vehicles and utilising the eReady app from Mercedes-Benz to help them identify if their business is ready to move to electric.”

DAF also has a new £3.2m truck servicing facility at the Daventry International Rail Freight Terminal (DIRFT), the UK’s largest, centrally located intermodal rail and road freight terminal, home to many large scale logistics companies.

The 1.6-acre site is situated on the A5 Watling Street, near junction 18 of the M1 motorway and M6/A14 interchange, and is GB Fleetcare’s third DAF location following the opening of service centres in Banbury and Gatwick.

On-site facilities include a 15,000 sq ft workshop including additional infrastructure to accommodate electric and hydrogen gas-powered vehicles.

Equipment includes gas alarms and a roof venting system, pit ventilation, 400-amp electricity supply and multiple ducts around the site to enable installation of vehicle chargers as required.

In addition, there are five 28-metre, fully-equipped workshop bays and an outside parking area for 12 full-length articulated vehicles.

Service manager at the facility, Ben Taylor, has completed an IMI level 4 training course with DAF over the previous 24-months.

The qualification covers diagnosis testing and repair of electric/hybrid vehicles and components contains the knowledge of the dangers surrounding repairs carried out to live high voltage vehicle electrical components and systems.

Taylor heads-up six fully-trained DAF Technicians with plans to increase recruitment in the third quarter of 2023 with a target of employing 21 DAF Technicians before the end of the year.

As an official DAF service partner, the GB Fleetcare site will also become an approved tachograph centre and a DVSA authorised testing facility, with a stock of DAF and TRP Parts.

Paul Grimes, GB Fleetcare Managing Director, said: “We identified the site in 2016 when Prologis, the owners of DIRFT, revealed plans for growth.

“We’ve worked extremely hard to build what we believe is the most modern, well-equipped truck servicing facility at the terminal and in precisely the right location.”

In addition, Renault Truck Commercials has opened its first dedicated van and light commercial vehicle site in Tipton, West Midlands, three miles from its existing dealerpoint.

The new 1.5 acre site sells new and used Renault Trucks Trafic and Master vehicles from 2.8 to 6 tonnes featuring Euro-6 diesel and zero-emission electric drivelines, as well as providing aftersales service for all makes of vans and LCVs.

Located close to the M6, the site operates extended hours and provides parts as well as secure parking and a waiting area with rest room and free Wi-Fi.

Grahame Neagus, Head of LCV UK and Ireland at Renault Trucks said: “With the growth Renault Trucks is seeing and forecasting in electromobility across our ever growing LCV portfolio, this dedicated site will enable us to grow into a real centre of EV excellence as more and more electric LCVs hit the road.”

Merseyside Mercedes-Benz dealer eStar Truck & Van is also in the forefront of the transition to a cleaner road transport industry, after moving into its newly-built, 45,500 sq ft headquarters on the Alchemy Business Park, Knowsley, in late 2021.

Having already installed charging stations for cars and light commercial vehicles, the dealer is adding a 400A DC unit in time for the arrival of the first battery-electric eActros trucks.

Meanwhile, Scania dealer group TruckEast has continued its expansion in East Anglia, moving its Head Office to a new purpose-built £7m site in Bury St Edmunds, featuring electric charging points.

Located just off junction 47a of the A14 and just a short distance from its old Stowmarket base, the 3.7 acre facility includes a large, workshop, vehicle wash facility and office space.

The building has been installed with energy saving features, including solar panels, LED lighting, rainwater harvesting, full insulation and skylights.

There is also a green area to encourage wildlife and biodiversity.

Harley Coulson, Managing Director at TruckEast, said: “The Stowmarket branch has been our home for the last 52 years and during that time the business has grown enormously, now outgrowing that location.

“This new state of the art dealership will allow us to take our services to the next level for our customers; both existing and new.”

As the transport world embraces electrification, expect to see many more purpose-built sites with EV capabilities coming on stream.


Update Newsletter