Footasylum is renowned for having its finger on the pulse when it comes to street fashion and sportswear – no surprise, then, that a brand so adept at recognising and responding to the latest trends is now running an emissions-busting Mercedes-Benz eVito van.
Supplied by north west Dealer Ciceley Commercials, the high-profile retailer’s first fully electric commercial vehicle represents an important step forward on its ‘road map’ to a carbon neutral future.
Footasylum’s Operations Director Richard Hodson explained: “As part of our sustainability plan we had been looking for a suitable electric vehicle to undertake local deliveries. Having assessed the available options, we decided the Mercedes-Benz eVito was the natural choice. Our plan now is to move to larger vehicles with longer ranges and higher capacities once they become available.”
Established in 2005, Footasylum trades from a UK network of more than 65 stores. Customers can choose from the latest trainers by the likes of sportswear giants adidas, Nike, Puma and Reebok, and clothing by hot new streetwear names like Kings Will Dream and Jameson Carter, or premium labels such as Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein.
The eVito, which hit Mercedes-Benz Retailer showrooms earlier this year, produces zero tailpipe emissions and allows customers like Footasylum to meet their environmental targets without having to compromise on practicality or performance.
The vehicle has a gross weight of 3.2 tonnes, a range of approximately 93 miles, and comes with three seats, as well as sliding load doors on both sides. Footasylum’s eVito is a long L2 PURE variant which offers a payload allowance of 923 kg and up to 6.0m3 of cargo area – the 41 kWh battery is securely mounted in a protective housing beneath the floor, so does not impinge on the available space.
The eVito PURE also comes in extra-long L3 form, with a 6.6m3 load volume and 898 kg carrying capacity. Meanwhile, eVito versions with the PROGRESSIVE trimline benefit from extra features, both internally and externally, but incur corresponding slight payload reductions.
The new van is based at Footasylum’s main distribution centre on Heywood Distribution Park, Greater Manchester, where an overnight charging station has been installed – the battery can be fully replenished in six hours using a Type-2 connection.
The vehicle spends its days ferrying internal post, stock and other consignments to and from the company’s head office at Sandbrook Park, Rochdale, and a storage facility on the Stakehill Industrial Estate in Middleton, Manchester. It is also called upon regularly to transport product samples to a photographic studio in the city centre.
“The eVito is working within a relatively small radius so range is never an issue,” said Footasylum’s Retail Distribution Centre Manager Keith Whalen. “It’s also a very busy area, though.
“The eVito is ideally suited to the role and does everything we need it to do. As well as being the right size for the job, it’s nice and easy when you’re at the wheel – nippy in traffic, quiet, and very comfortable – so naturally our driver David Howard loves it.
“The biggest plus of all, though,” he continued, “is that it’s so much cleaner than a diesel-engined van. This smart new Mercedes-Benz underlines the company’s commitment to minimise the impact of our operations on the environment.”
Footasylum’s eVito is the subject of a two-year Mercedes-Benz Finance contract hire agreement arranged by Ciceley Commercials – the attractive monthly payment rate reflects the fact that the Dealer secured the maximum available grant from the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) prior to registration, thereby reducing the capital cost of the van.
“Ciceley Commercials’ service was spot on,” added Mr Whalen. “It could not have made the acquisition process any easier for us.”
eVito customers also benefit from the low cost of electricity compared to diesel and petrol, as well as favourable tax rates and E-mobility support programmes. The relative simplicity of its electric motor means the eVito’s maintenance and repair costs are substantially lower too, than those of a vehicle with combustion engine.
The eVito’s electric motor produces 114 hp and drives the front wheels via a single-speed automatic transmission. Acceleration is instantaneous. Top speed is restricted as standard to 50 mph (80 km/h), 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.
The eVito’s range – 90-plus miles is comfortably enough for the overwhelming majority of city-based applications – is supplemented by recuperative charging, but will be reduced by constant driving with a full load.
The eVito comes with Mercedes PRO connect as standard. This advanced manufacturer solution provides operators with an array of fast, efficient and cost-effective vehicle management service packages.
Vehicle data is analysed in real time – everything from fuel consumption to vehicle locations, trip history, maintenance status and driver behaviour can be monitored.
Dedicated electric features allow customers, for example, to locate a charge station, optimise route planning, remotely check the charge status of the vehicle, and pre-condition its temperature ahead of the journey.