Here at vanrental.co.uk there’s nothing we like more than an all-wheel drive van, so I was heartened to hear that the Environment Agency is taking delivery of 55 new Ford Transit all-wheel drive models.
The vans will be used across England, mainly in connection with flood and coastal risk management programmes, where good traction is often required for access to work sites. Here’s Dale Eynon, the Environment Agency’s head of fleet services:
“Our work inevitably requires us to visit rural areas where access can be a bit of a challenge, and while we need vehicles which can get our staff off road, we don’t have a need for massive, carbon-heavy 4x4s. The AWD Transit is an ideal combination because it has the ability, the size, is much lower on carbon and more cost-effective.
“The vehicles will be used to help our work to protect people and the environment, in particular accessing remote sites for tasks such as tree clearance, construction and the operation of flood defences.”
The vans themselves are long wheelbase 350 AWD models powered by Ford’s latest 2.2-litre Duratorq TDCi engine. The AWD system used on the Ford vans defaults to rear-wheel drive but directs torque to whichever wheels have most grip when necessary.
Each van is being converted by Leicestershire-based specialist Bott with special racking for tools and light bars, with some of the Transits being turned into ‘welfare units’, equipped with lavatories and heating, which allow staff respite from bad weather and a comfortable place for rest breaks.
Once in service, the new Transit AWD vans will form part of the agency’s 1,400-vehicle multi-badge fleet.