ONLINE shopping and van-driving businesses helped to contribute £125.2bn to the UK economy in 2017, up 32% in five years.
It’s a figure that exceeds the GDP of nations such as Argentina, Saudi Arabia and Switzerland showing how important the van market is.
Last year vans averaged 12,400 miles around the UK, more than any other country in Europe while commercial vehicles covered 49.7bn miles on British roads.
These are among the findings of Economics of Commercial Van Usage Across Europe, a report compiled by the Centre for Economics and Business Research which calculated the value if businesses made possible by vans such as postal and courier services.
According to the report, two ongoing trends are driving the growth in van use. One is online deliveries and the other is an increase in self-employment following the financial crash.
As van business booms, Ford is looking to the future with electrified versions of its van range. It has already announced a Tourneo Custom model with plug-in hybrid technology while an all-electric Transit is planned for launch in 2021.
At the end of this year while a new Transit Custom Plug-in Hybrid van is set for launch with entry level Leader trim at £39,145, Trend from £40,595 and Limited from £42,950.
Ford is also looking at other delivery solutions including a new digital service being trialed in partnership with Gnewt by Menzies Distribution, co-ordinating multiple modes of transport including pedestrian and, eventually, bicycle couriers.