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Acklea introduces UK’s first plastic traffic management electric vehicle

Tuesday, November 1, 2022 - 09:24
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Traffic management vehicle specialist Acklea has introduced a zero-emission electric-powered model to extend its range of recyclable plastic-bodied 7.2t commercial vehicles. It is the UK’s first electric traffic management vehicle of this size.

Created especially for highway service provider Ringway, part of Eurovia, for use in London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone (Ulez), this new battery EV truck will be used round the clock by reactive maintenance crews on the capital’s inner roads.

The vehicle will operate from Ringway’s three strategically located London depots, all of which have EV charging facilities, and means it is going above and beyond the current electric van requirement in its Transport for London (TfL) contract.

The new electric truck retains the totally recyclable copolymer plastic body that makes Acklea’s family of 7.2t vehicles so exceptionally lightweight and has a modular design capable of reducing whole life costs by up to 30%.

The copolymer plastic used in the design is durable, recyclable, lightweight, low maintenance, zero corrosion, heat- and chemical-resistant and impact-resistant.

This means the bodies can be reused with a new chassis and cab to increase the lifespan of the reusable parts into a second or potentially third life, as the vehicles are upgraded with new, more sustainable chassis and battery technology.

Acklea built the vehicle with Ringway and Astra Vehicle Technologies Ltd, successfully accommodating lithium-ion batteries and EV technology within the existing chassis.

The new truck is again based on the Iveco Daily 7t chassis, with simple, van-like driving controls and a Hi-Matic transmission.

This ensures it retains all the safety and operational equipment of the standard traffic management vehicle to keep employees and other drivers safe at work:

  • Axtec on-board weighing system with audible alarm to indicate axle overloading based on combined front and rear axle weights
  • Motormax vehicle warning and camera system to protect unsecured equipment when doors are left unlocked
  • LED illumination throughout
  • Non-slip floor, galvanised fall protection rails and powder-coated drop sides
  • Single point of access into the body via a purpose-built staircase with illuminated, high-visibility non-slip steps
  • Illuminated, lockable storage lockers for equipment and sandbags
  • Full Chapter Eight-compliant beacons, markings and signage.

Clive Brocklehurst, product manager at Acklea, said: “This new electric vehicle takes our range of lightweight plastic-bodied trucks to a new level, which will help our customers further future-proof their investment as they move forwards in their net zero programmes.

“We are seeing high demand for our plastic units from road maintenance organisations because they’re sustainable and reduce costs and downtime. They can also be further equipped and tailored to match each customer’s individual requirements, which makes them easily adaptable and flexible for a range of uses.

“The zero-emission electric vehicle was the logical next step for sustainable motoring, and especially relevant for businesses working in cities with Clean Air Zones like the Ulez. We’re combining the latest EV battery technology with a copolymer plastic body that’s lightweight, recyclable and tough enough for any road maintenance task.”

Chris Forrest, fleet and plant operations manager at Eurovia, adds: “We were keen to work with Acklea to explore how a zero-emission electric vehicle could be created that would meet the rigorous challenges of working on busy London roads.

“Acklea’s plastic EV traffic management vehicle does everything we need, efficiently and cost-effectively, and for the first time with a battery at its heart instead of a traditional diesel engine. It has a range in excess of 200 kilometres on a full charge and has the full range of safety equipment to support our work crews. We’re really excited to have the opportunity to use it.”

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