Cheshire-based Topspeed Couriers is accelerating towards a future of electric transport by investing heavily in battery-powered eVito vans.
The company has already added 22 zero-emission vans to its fleet and has six more on order. Ultimately, though, the operator’s plan is to switch its entire 130-strong fleet to electric vehicles as soon as practically possible.
Managing director Gillian Lockley and chief executive Stephen Clegg see the move as an opportunity, not an obligation – but they believe that successful implementation of their plan depends on very careful preparation.
“People say that running an electric fleet is difficult but we just don’t accept that,” says Clegg. “It’s like any change in a production process – you have to do your research, consider all the implications, put a proper plan in place and then manage the transition carefully.
“That’s the way we’ve done it, and we think this gives us a competitive edge. As well as differentiating our business against many of our competitors, early adoption means we’ll be well established as an electric vehicle operator, and have a far better understanding of how to run an electric fleet successfully than those who come late to the party.”
Setting the electrification plan in action involved more than just deciding to buy some battery-powered vehicles, reveals Lockley.
“We put a lot of thought into the bigger picture of running electric vehicles, and how they would fit into our business,” she adds. “That meant looking closely at route scheduling, driver training and a strategy for recharging.”
Topspeed took its first two electric vans – both Mercedes- Benz eVito models – in late 2022. They were intended as a trial, but Topspeed quickly saw the benefits of going electric and placed orders for more. The second batch of 14 vans was followed by eight more, and a further six arrived in September.
“The eVito is not the cheapest van on the road but we’re happy to pay for the class-leading reliability, build quality and back-up cover it offers,” explains Lockley. “The three-year, unlimited mileage warranty is very attractive and the free roadside assistance – from a uniformed and factory-trained Mercedes-Benz technician – is excellent.
“We’ve also been very impressed with the range these vans achieve. The eVito is advertised as being able to cover up to 162 miles per charge but we find that with careful driving we achieve much further – close to 200 miles, which is very impressive.”
“We buy our vehicles outright and plan to write off the cost over four years, but in reality Mercedes-Benz vans last much longer. In our experience they’ll easily go for six or seven years, at up to 100,000 miles per year, without any trouble. We believe we’ve bought the best electric vans available, and also put in the effort and investment to allow us to provide our customers with the best service possible.”