With the trend for fleet operators to opt for vans with larger load spaces and higher payloads, vans weighing from 2.5 to 3.5-tonnes, the sector containing large vans, have accounted for almost seven out of 10 new sales in the year-to-date, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

The Ford Transit and Mercedes-Benz Sprinter large vans are both among the 10 best-selling models of the year so far.

Alternative fuels are increasingly making their presence felt in the large van sector, predominantly manufacturers are concentrating on battery-electric technology but Stellantis-owned Vauxhall sees an opportunity for hydrogen fuel cell large vans to fill a gap that BEVs cannot cover.

Although Vauxhall’s first hydrogen van will be a medium-sized Vivaro, it sees large vans as presenting the bigger opportunity for the fuel.

Stellantis LCV head of product and pricing Brad Miller said: “We know a number of use cases where EV is just not working and hydrogen will help in some of those cases.”

He said that while a medium EV could cover 90% of diesel operational cycles, for large vans he estimated this would fall to 65%.

Vauxhall plans to launch a hydrogen large van in tight-hand drive in early 2025.

Iveco gave a UK debut to three examples of its large electric van the eDaily at the CV Show in April prior to its arrival in UK showrooms in June. The manufacturer claims the eDaily’s range of capabilities will enable operators to go electric without having to make any compromises when switching from the diesel Daily. The eDaily features a modular battery system allowing customers to specify their van with one, two or three 37kWh units. Maximum range is a claimed 248 miles. Mirroring the diesel van, up to 65% of eDaily sales are expected to be chassis cabs.

In further Iveco news, supply chain company Dawsongroup has ordered 270 more Iveco Daily vans for its fleet following positive feedback from customers who rented an initial batch of 350 Daily vans that joined the fleet last year. The new Dailys will be panel vans, joining the chassis cab models equipped with Luton boxes, single and crew cab tippers, dropsides, and tool pod tipper bodies that are already on the fleet.

Returning to the CV Show, Watt Electric Vehicles Company (WEVC) gave a global debut to its fully-electric prototype chassis cab, codenamed eCV1. The vehicle can be built to either 3.5 or 4.25-tonnes with respective payloads of 1,750 or 2,500kg, according to WEVC.

Mercedes was an early entrant to the large electric van segment but its original eSprinter offered limited capabilities. In March the brand revealed a new, improved version.

Two vehicle lengths will be available with three battery sizes. The largest has 113kWh of capacity, enough for a range of up to 248 miles on the WLTP cycle, or 310 miles on the WLTP city cycle, says Mercedes. The other batteries are 56kWh and 81kWh units. Two electric motors will be available, producing 136hp or 204hp. The figures are a big upgrade on the previous eSprinter, which had a 114hp motor, and a WLTP range of up to 96 miles.