Vans consume a fifth more fuel when they are laden with 75% of their maximum payloads, leasing company Arval has claimed.
The firm tested what it called ‘a popular short wheelbase panel van’ with a payload of 1,079kg, and while it declined to name the model used, the payload figure corresponds to versions of the Renault Trafic and Vauxhall Vivaro.
Arval tested the van at the same time of day in the same driving conditions but with differing loads – 0%, 25%, 50% and 75% of maximum capacity – over a 49.1 mile course.
When empty, the van recorded an average fuel consumption figure of 35.7mpg. With 25% of the payload utlised, it achieved 33.7mpg, 30.7mpg with a half-laden load box, and 28.1mpg with three-quarters of its carrying capacity used.
Arval said the trial was designed to underline the importance of making sure LCVs only carry the loads needed on any given journey.
“These results are marked. A van that is carrying a 75% payload is using a fifth more fuel, which is a considerable cost increase,” said Liam Cresswell, Arval fleet consultant. “This has direct operational implications, the most immediate and direct of which is to ensure that your vans are not carrying any weight that isn’t needed. This is something that needs to be communicated effectively to drivers.”
Cresswell said fleets should raise driver awareness by clearly labeling the payload of vans and teaching them how to maximise the carrying capacity of their vans.