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The Bevan ICON body was developed with the help of Cranfield University shown here on Mercedes Sprinter chassis

The Bevan ICON: reduced operating costs

Kitchens supplier takes 10 Luton vans on Mercedes-Benz Sprinter chassis

A LEADING kitchens supplier has become the first customer for the aerodynamic Bevan ICON Luton van body, launched earlier this year at the Commercial Vehicle Show.

Benchmarx, the dedicated kitchens and joinery brand of Travis Perkins, has ordered 10 aerodynamic Bevan ICONs, all of which are being fitted to Euro 5 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 313CDI chassis.

The Bevan ICON Luton van body combines strong environmental credentials with a market-leading payload capability. Developed in partnership with independent aerodynamics experts from Cranfield University and Hatcher Components, the new body has a futuristic appearance and incorporates cutting-edge technology designed both to increase productivity and reduce the vehicle’s operating costs and environmental impact.

The first of the new vehicles has entered service at the Benchmarx depot in Walsall, West Midlands. Despite having a DEL ‘Slim Jim’ 500kg column tail-lift complete with safety gates for operatives, the unladen vehicle tips the scales at just 2,500kg, leaving an outstanding 1,000kg carrying capacity.

Benchmarx will run the vans for three months, during which their fuel consumption will be monitored closely and compared with that achieved by other Travis Perkins Sprinters with ‘standard’ Luton bodies, also by Bevan Group.

“We have high hopes for the Bevan ICON,” said Adam Baillie, group fleet manager for Travis Perkins’ Benchmarx and City Plumbing brands. “It certainly looks radical, particularly from the front end, and if the trial proves successful then we’re sure to invest in more. As a business we seek to exploit every opportunity to increase fuel efficiency and thereby reduce our carbon footprint, and to raise productivity by gaining extra payload.”

He continued: “As far as improvements in fuel efficiency are concerned, obviously we’ll have to wait and see whether the ICON delivers on its promise. But the payload benefits are already evident. We’ve covered our manual handling concerns by fitting personnel safety gates to the tail-lift but are still left with a very productive carrying capacity.”

The ICON’s innovative, modular design was created by specialists employing three-dimensional CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) technology able to simulate genuine road conditions, and then honed in a wind tunnel using a full-scale model.

Body panels – moulded cab deflector and collar, side walls and roof – are manufactured in a lightweight and recyclable composite GRP material and assembled at Bevan Group’s production facility in Halesowen, West Midlands.

The 10 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 313CDIs on which its ICON bodies are based, are being supplied by Intercounty Truck & Van, of Wellingborough. The same dealer has already delivered more than 100 other Sprinters for operation by various divisions of Northampton-based Travis Perkins this year.

There’s more here

See our report from the CV Show. Click on the link CV Show 2011.

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