Van hire giant Enterprise has opened a new Enterprise Car Club location in Amesbury, Wiltshire. Vehicles available at the new location include several cars plus a Volkswagen Crafter van, which will be based at the Amesbury Holiday Inn.
Car (and van)-sharing clubs are an increasingly popular alternative to vehicle ownership and daily rental. For town and city dwellers who need a vehicle for a few hours every now and then, we think they’re a superior alternative to owning a vehicle.
Enterprise’s Car Club charges start at £3.45 per hour for regular users and £4.95 per hour for regular club members. There’s even a student hire option which allows drivers aged 19-21 to hire vehicles from just £5.95 per hour. Kudos to Enterprise for making this available — most companies exclude drivers under 22.
As you’d expect, all vehicles receive a comprehensive clean between hires. This does mean that availability is lower than usual at the moment, as longer than usual is required between hires to allow the vehicle to be cleaned.
The company says that a new contract win means that a significant number of £1 one-way van rental deals will now be available from Edinburgh Airport, to popular destinations across the UK.
As you may have guess, the reason why these one-way hires are so cheap is that you have to drop the van off in a certain destination, within a fixed time limit. What Driiveme.co.uk does is find drivers for rental companies who have vehicles that need moving around the country.
Effectively, you’re acting as a free delivery driver. In return, you get (almost) free use of the van. That seems fair to me. To look for £1 van hire in your area, click here=>*
*Driiveme.co.uk website⇒This is an affiliate link. If you book a hire with Driiveme.co.uk after clicking on this link, we’ll receive a small payment.
What can you get for £1 these days? Not very much. But one thing you can do is hire a van (or car) for just £1 from major hire companies through the driiveme.co.uk website⇒*.
What’s the catch?
Here’s the deal. Big hire companies need to ‘rebalance’ their fleets. That means moving cars and vans from one location to another so that they’re available to hire in the right locations.
One way to do this is for the companies to pay drivers or vehicle transporters. But that’s expensive for them and a bit wasteful too.
The other alternative is to rent out the vehicles for £1 to customers who want to travel those routes.
The advantage of this is that it saves a wasted journey — you want to travel from A to B and the van (or car) needs to be moved from A to B. So it’s a win-win situation.
The £1 charge is only needed to activate the hire vehicle’s insurance. Apart from that, all you have to pay for is fuel.
Obviously there is a catch: you have to take the car or van between two fixed locations, usually within 24 hours. But if the route works for you, then this can be a brilliant and cheap way to move around the UK.
The disruption caused by changing emissions rules doesn’t stop there. Last year’s switch to the WLTP emissions testing regime for new cars and vans caused disruption to new vehicle supplies across Europe, as the new testing system caused bottlenecks for manufacturers.
The introduction of the ULEZ in London means that anyone who isn’t driving a Euro 6 diesel will face a £12.50 daily charge for driving inside the congestion zone (the area will be expanded in 2021). Realistically, this isn’t a viable choice for daily operation — doing so five days a week would cost £3,250 per year.
With cities such as Birmingham and Leeds due to introduce Clean Air Zones in the next few years, the emissions problem isn’t going away. But operators wanting to update their fleet to Euro 6 models may find that supplies are limited and prices rising, even for used models.
Auction group BCA recently held its first dedicated ULEZ van sale, where all vehicles were Euro 6 compliant or electric/hybrid vans. As part of the sale, BCA guaranteed that all vans being sold would be able to enter the Ultra Low Emission Zone without charge.
A total of 148 vehicles went under the hammer, selling an average of 104% of their CAP book price — i.e. they sold for more than their book value. Some used dealers at the auction confirmed that they are now only retailing Euro 6 models.
With such strong demand, used van prices are likely to remain high, in my opinion. I think many van operators could be better off outsourcing their vehicle supply to large rental firms and focusing on their core business.
Indeed, all of this brings to mind a famous quote from oil baron J Paul Getty, once the world’s richest man. Talking about business, Getty said:
“If it appreciates, buy it. If it depreciates, lease it”
There’s no doubt at all what category vehicles fall into. From the day you buy them, they depreciate and cost you money to maintain. If you’re still running Euro 5 or older vans, I think there’s a real risk that their used value will collapse over the next few years. I suspect that no one will want to buy vans that are effectively banned from many major towns and cities.
In my view, unless transport is a core part of your business, van operators are better advised to consider long-term flexible rental deals such as those from Europcar and Northgate.
Alongside this change, the company has also ordered 100 new Citroen Berlingo vans in Enterprise specification. This high-end spec includes the kind of equipment list that’s more usually found on cars.
Standard spec for the Berlingo Enterprise includes air conditioning, rear parking sensors, cruise control, speed limiter, automatic electronic parking brake, alarm, one-touch electric windows, heated and electrically-operated folding door mirrors, front fog lights with cornering function and tyre pressure monitoring.
Europcar says that private rental customers increasingly expect the comfort and convenience features of a modern car. Meanwhile business customers, who increasingly use rental vans for long periods, want to ensure that their drivers are well-supported and able to do their job comfortably and efficiently.
When you hire a van, there are times you only need it for a couple of hours.
Some companies do offer van hire by the hour, but in major towns and cities hourly van hire is increasingly being replaced by a much more flexible and simple service — van sharing clubs.
The idea is that hire vehicles are left dotted around the city, sometimes in allocated parking spaces. Anyone who is a club member can reserve a van online and then use it for as long — or as little — as they want. Charges are low and often start with a one-hour minimum.
You can pickup and dropoff vehicles 24/7, unlike at traditional rental branches
This concept is probably more familiar for self-service car hire users – car sharing clubs have been around for a while now. But its also increasingly popular with vans. A number of the big hire companies now operate their own van sharing club services. Here’s a quick overview:
Hertz 24/7 – locations are mainly self-storage facilities, B&Q sites and other similar locations. Very practical for shifting large items such as furniture, DIY supplies or stuff for storage. More info at www.hertz247.co.uk/
Zipcar & Zipvan – one of the original dedicated car-sharing services, now expanded to offer vans. In the UK, Zipvan operates in London and a handful of other major cities. More info at www.zipvan.com/
Data released by the British Vehicle Rental & Leasing Association (BVRLA) to mark Green GB Week show that 56% of the UK’s van rental fleet already meets the latest Euro VI emissions standard.
In contrast, just 13% of the UK’s van fleet as a whole is Euro VI. Of course, one reason for this is that the leasing and rental sector is one of the biggest buyers of new vans in the UK. After 2-4 year, most of these vans are then sold into the secondhand market.
But the reality is that buying a cheap, old van seems to be a poor choice, environmentally, compared to occasionally renting a nearly-new van.
This has implications for drivers wanting to travel into the expanding London ULEZ and potentially into other planned Clean Air Zones. Keeping an old van parked up for occasional use in cities could cost you dearly if planned charges are introduced. Plus it’s likely to cost you more to run (and more headaches) than an occasional rental.
Even if you don’t venture into our major cities, you’ll probably be concerned about minimising your impact on air quality, which is already dangerously poor in many areas of the UK.
Our independent van hire price comparison engine allows you to compare van hire prices from most of the UK’s main rental firms. If you’re considering the cost of van hire, why not take a look?
Rob Austin’s stock Volkswagen Transporter hire van has set a new unofficial lap record of the Nurburgring
A standard production model Volkswagen Transporter supplied by Northgate Vehicle Hire has set a new unofficial lap record around the legendary Nürburgring Nordschleife race circuit.
The van was piloted by British Touring Car driver Rob Austin, who is normally found behind the wheel of a highly-tuned Alfa Romeo Giulietta.
Rob took some time off his day job to try and beat 10 minute 8 second time set by German racer Sabine Schmitz in a Ford Transit for Top Gear in 2005.
Rob succeeded and clocked up a 9m58s lap, setting an unofficial new record:
As far as I know, this is a record for a standard van. But I do remember that back in 2013, tuning firm Revo souped up an earlier VW Transporter and squeezed out a 9 minute 57 second lap at the ‘Ring:
And finally, no discussions of ‘Ring lap records in vans would be complete without including footage of Sabine Schmitz’s legendary 2005 lap for Top Gear, which she completed in 10m 8s in a rather slower Ford Transit:
You’ve got to love the footage of a Transit van passing fast cars and motorbikes on the Nurburging. Just goes to show that most of the time, speed is about the driver, not the vehicle.
Insurance worries? The excess on rental vans is generally £1,000 or more. So purchasing excess protection insurance can help. Most hire companies sell this by the day, but it’s sometimes cheaper to buy it yourself beforehand — see here for ideas and discount codes.
Firstly, you’ll be breaking the law by driving without valid documentation (a VE103 form). And you probably won’t have insurance. So you’ll be in line for a hefty fine if you’re stopped by foreign cops or involved in a collision.
But even if that doesn’t happen, you may find you have an unexpected problem. Your van may suddenly refuse to start.
Van hire companies are increasingly using tracking and telematics systems that allow them to see where their vans are at all times. These systems can also offer so-called geofencing, which means that the van’s owner can set limits on the where it can be operated and immobilise the van if it travels outside those permitted areas.
This might mean that channel ferry ports are added as restricted areas. So if you take a van into a ferry port without having arranged for European hire, you may get a call from your hire company.
If you manage to get out of the country without permission, your van may even be remotely immobilised until the rental company can contact you to find out what’s happening.