Supplied subject to a five year contract hire agreement with Fraikin, the newcomer features a bespoke body sourced from Glasgow-based Tekbo. It's equipped with a rear roller shutter door plus low-voltage LEDs to illuminate the interior and is finished in a distinctive livery sponsored by The Guardian.
Fitted with lithium-ion batteries, the van has a range of up to 60 miles on a full five-hour charge. Menzies Distribution is able to part-charge the battery pack if necessary, with each hour-long charge replenishing 20 per cent of its power.
Starting its run at 4.30am from the company's depot close to the Old Kent Road, the Modec makes up to 30 deliveries every morning throughout Westminster. In the afternoon it hauls overseas-bound express parcels to a central sorting hub on behalf of Menzies Aviation.
“The Modec's arrival forms part of a wider project within Menzies Distribution aimed at further reducing the carbon footprint of the business,” says logistics manager, Stuart McLean. “To support its introduction we're assessing the feasibility of installing a photovoltaic recharging system at our depot which will allow us to provide much of the electrical power needed for the vehicle through solar energy.
“The Modec test follows the arrival two months ago of ten Mercedes-Benz vans fitted with Eco-Start,” he continues. “It automatically cuts the engine whenever the vehicle is stationary for more than two seconds then automatically restarts it when the driver depresses the clutch pedal.
“We're also in discussion with Isuzu about adding a hybrid diesel electric truck to the fleet.”
Says Gavin Lightfoot, the first Menzies driver to take charge of the Modec; “Its unique styling attracts a lot of attention from other motorists and pedestrians. I've had a number of people tell me that it looks like a modern-day version of the Mystery Machine from Scooby-Doo.”
Menzies Distribution delivers over 5m newspapers and 2.5m magazines daily.