Once you have chosen the right light commercial vehicle for your requirements in the specification that best enables the vehicle to fulfil its particular function then the next consideration is to see if there are any applications or even accessories to improve its efficiency, economy or safety still further.

The variety of products and technological aids on offer is immense and industry stakeholders – from vehicle manufacturers to accessory suppliers to technology firms to fleet management companies – are getting involved.

An inspector calls

At the CV Show in April fleet management firm Leaseplan revealed a smartphone-based vehicle safety checking app.Commercial vehicle boss Mark Lovett told What Van? the device could help to bring HGV levels of compliance to LCVs by enabling drivers to conduct online daily vehicle checks and provide essential data to fleet managers.

He said the Driver Check app enabled Leaseplan to alert customers when their vans need servicing and to reveal which drivers have sustained the most damage or faults to their van, which may mean driver training is required.

Lovett said the tool can also demonstrate Leaseplan has done all it can to help operators ensure the roadworthiness of their fleets and reduce the downtime caused by vans needing to be taken off duty for repairs.

Happy days

Leasing firm Ogilvie launched its Happy Drivers app at the end of 2015 and has been continuously updating it ever since. Free to download, it offers the ability to book services and provides driving tips tailored to all seasons of the year.

Happy -drivers Menu [1]

The Happy Drivers app from leasing company Ogilvie is free to download

A Find Your Nearest function provides directions to local facilities such as supermarkets, fuel stations, EV charging points, Ogilvie’s fast-fit partner Kwik-Fit’s centres, or car parks. A checklist of what to do in the event of an accident is also included.

Being free of charge to all drivers the app does not carry Ogilvie branding – however, Ogilvie Fleet drivers can receive more targeted information if they choose I’m An Ogilvie Driver at login.

For example, the firm openly promotes the AA, Green Flag and RAC in the event of a breakdown, but Ogilvie drivers would only see links for the RAC as this is the firm’s fleet partner.

A recent development allows Ogilvie drivers to see live information on their vehicle, such as the timing of the next service, and this could extend to include notifications to prompt drivers if a service is overdue in addition to the established practice of notifying them by email.

Trak Global presents its Appy Fleet product as an app-based telematics tool to encourage safer and more efficient driving without the cost of installing a black box because drivers pair the app with their vehicle via Bluetooth, and the GPS sensor in their phone is used to track their movement.

The app’s Driver Score feature, which drivers see when they open the app, provides instant feedback on driving behaviour. The score is based on speed, driving-style smoothness and frequency of breaks, and each is given an individual score to highlight areas for improvement.

Drivers are ranked alongside others within their fleet to encourage friendly competition to improve performance.

The app stores all journey and mileage data, which is sent to the Fleet Manager Dashboard, where managers can view driving activity across their whole fleet. Real-time fleet tracking and email alerts of extreme events are also part of the Fleet Manager service.

Trak Global has recently introduced a Risk Management service for fleet managers to Appy Fleet. Features include Geo-fencing, which provides alerts of unauthorised use of fleet vehicles, at night for example, and alerts for extraordinary speeding events – such as speeds recorded in excess of 100mph.

While the driver smartphone app is free, the Fleet Manager Dashboard function costs £4 per driver per month.


LCV racking specialist Tevo has branched out in a new direction with the introduction of Modul Fleet, a smartphone-based fleet management app.

Businesses can use the app for scheduling, to keep track of employees’ movements when they are travelling to job sites, and to make appointments. It can also create invoices and carry out stock inventories, while used in conjunction with an onboard diagnostics dongle it can monitor driver performance.

Light commercial vehicle manufacturers are also introducing apps to make life easier for their customers.

With its revised Kangoo Van ZE.33 electric van, Renault is offering ZE Trip, which enables drivers to locate public charging points via the vehicle’s R-Link navigation system or online when preparing journeys in advance.

ZE Trip indicates the real-time availability of each charging point and whether it is compatible with the van.

Renault has also launched a smartphone-based app, ZE Pass, that customers can use to pay for recharging. They can also use the app to compare prices between different charging points.

In addition, ZE Connect Pro is a new online tool that fleet managers can use to check their vans’ battery-charge levels when on the road or back at base.

Accessorise all areas

The use of phone technology isn’t the only way to improve the quality of your van life. Volkswagen has largely built the name of its iconic Transporter upon its reputation as the pre-eminent camper van on the market and this summer the brand wasted no time in launching a range of merchandise through its Van Centre network to further enhance customers’ trips away. Items include a four-person tent based on the original T1 Transporter, an onboard coffee maker, picnic blankets, deck chairs, cool bags and sun umbrellas.

Arguably less fun but more practical is the range of accessories 4×4 specialist Truckman offers. While best known for producing tonneau covers and hardtops for the major pick-up brands, recent additions to its portfolio include skid-resistant bedliners for pick-up trucks.


Truckman bedliners are claimed to be made from low-slip plastic

Designed to protect the load bay surface from dents, scratches and spills, Truckman claims the bedliners, which are priced from £180 excluding VAT, are made from low-slip plastic that reduces the movement of the load when in transit.

Truckman has also just introduced its Pro-Lift system that uses gas struts in combination with a spring system to take the strain out of opening and closing heavy pick-up truck tailgates. Truckman claims the Pro-Lift reduces the effective weight of the tailgate by 95%, enabling it to be opened and closed with one hand. The accessory can be fitted to all pick-up models and costs from £158 excluding VAT.