Moving house with a van

Are van sharing clubs a better choice than van hire?

Moving house with a van
Shifting your stuff is much easier in a van than in your parents’ car! Think about sharing with an older driver to avoid age restrictions.

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:

  • Enterprise Car Club – Join the club and you can pick up cars or vans by the hour in towns and cities across the UK. More info at www.enterprise.co.uk/en/car-club.html
  • 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/
  • Ubeeqo (Europcar) – at present this self-service car hire club is available for cars only, but I suspect that in time vans will also become available. In the meantime, Europcar has a very large network of UK van hire branches, so there’s sure to be one near you. (More info about Ubeeqo here)

Have you used a car or van sharing club? Do you find it cheaper or more convenient than regular car and van hire? Let us know about your experiences in the comments below.

Exclusive Discount Code: Save 7.5% at Questor Insurance [EXPIRED]

I’m pleased to report that once again we have managed to secure an exclusive 7.5% discount code for Questor Insurance

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This code can be used to save money on Questor products including minibus and van hire excess protection insurance.

Remember – you can buy now for future use, so make sure you don’t miss out on this great saving. Here are the details:

Terms and conditions may apply — see Questor website for details.

New vans to look for on hire fleets: Vauxhall & Volkswagen

Volkswagen and Vauxhall have both announced details of new van models in recent days. I’d expect at least some of these to become popular choices with the van rental companies featured in our van hire price comparison results, so I thought I’d run through the new models briefly to introduce them.

Ready to rumble

Volkswagen’s Engineered to Go range of off-the-shelf van conversions are available to order directly from the firm’s standard price list. This avoids the need for buyers to order a chassis cab model from VW and then arrange for a converter to add an aftermarket body conversion to the van.

The convenience of this approach is obvious and most of the big van manufacturers now offer similar services. VW’s range of conversions by specialist Ingimex has recently been revamped following the introduction of the all-new Crafter in 2017.

Customers can now order the following models direct from VW commercial vehicle dealers:

  • Luton
  • Dropside
  • Tipper

In due course, additional models will be available, including fridge/freezer conversions and minibuses. Here’s some more information about each of the new conversions.

VW Crafter Luton

VW Crafter Luton ‘Engineered to Go’ conversion

The Luton body benefits from a unique four-tier load restraint system that can be used for deck lashing, standard load lock lashing or with an optional Ingimex telescopic load pole. This 3.5t conversion is available as a single cab only.

VW Crafter Dropside

Volksagen Crafter Dropside ‘Engineered to Go’ conversion

The dropside conversion can be ordered in single or double cab specification. The dropside itself comes prepared for the addition of fall arrest rails or tail lifts.

VW Crafter Tipper

Volkswagen Crafter Tipper ‘Engineered to Go’ conversion

The Crafter Tipper conversion is also available as a single or double cab model. Tipping functions can be controlled with a wander lead, improving safety and visibility for the operator when tipping.

Vauxhall Vivaro Life MPV

The new Vauxhall Vivaro Life MPV gives us a clear idea of how the next-generation Vivaro van will look.

Back in April last year, I reported that the Vauxhall Vivaro plant at Luton had secured an investment package from new owners PSA Group that would see the factory upgraded to produce the next-generation Vivaro van. At the same time, the plant’s production capacity would be upgraded from 60,000 to 100,000 vehicles per year by mid-2019.

This image from Vauxhall shows us the first results of this substantial investment in British manufacturing. The Vivaro Life is the first variant of the new Vivaro range and is an MPV model which will seat up to nine people.

Vivaro Life will have a single wheelbase but be available in two lengths, 4.95m and 5.3m. This will increase the MPV’s ability to compete with models such as the Transporter and Vito. It will also be available in a wide range of trim levels.

Buyers looking for an executive shuttle will be able to choose from four, seven or eight leather-covered seats. Those wanting an urban workhorse or minicab can opt for five, six, eight or nine cloth-covered seats.

In either case, the driver-focused specification promises to be generous and include a wide range of systems to boost safety and driver comfort.

A 100% electric model will be launched in “early 2021”.

The Vivaro Life will be premiered at the Brussels Motor Show on 18 January 2019. UK dealer order books will open in February.

Vehicle exhaust

London gets £23m van scrappage scheme ahead of ULEZ

Vehicle exhaust

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has announced plans for a £23m van scrappage scheme to help small businesses cope with the impact of the London Ultra-Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ).

The ULEZ comes into force in Central London on 8 April 2019 and will levy a charge of £12.50 per day on vans which don’t meet the Euro 6 emissions standard.

The scrappage scheme will be available to “micro businesses”  — those with less than 10 employees. Business owners will be able to apply for funding to help them meet the cost of scrapping non-Euro 6 vans and replacing them with compliant models.

Details of the scrappage scheme have not yet been announced, so it’s not known how much cash will be provided to owners wishing to update their vans. However, the Mayor’s office has said that the scheme should be in place “ahead” of the introduction of the ULEZ in April.

Given that this is now less than four months away, time seems tight to me. Applying for funding and buying a suitable new vehicle could soon become difficult within the time period. But it’s good to see that something is being done to help meet the cost of replacing older vans that are driven into central London.

Another concern is that even with the scrappage allowance, buying newer vans could be unaffordable for many small businesses. Used van prices remain high — according to auctioneer BCA, the average used van fetched £7,146 in November, an increase of 5.1% compared to the same month in 2017.

As I’ve written before, for van operators with older vans who only drive into the ULEZ area occasionally, hiring a van could be cheaper than buying a newer one. It’s certainly worth crunching the numbers yourself before rushing out to buy a new van. You might be surprised.

To learn more about the ULEZ, including vehicle and post code checks, click here.

New Rental Vehicle Security Scheme aims to cut terror risk

Volkswagen Crafter Luton
The government’s new rental security scheme is voluntary but will require changes including compulsory electronic payment method.

Terror attacks in London last year saw rental vans used to attack pedestrians in attacks at Westminster, London Bridge and Finsbury Park.

As we discussed last year, the government has now launched a Rental Vehicle Security Scheme aimed at increasing awareness of terror risks among rental firms and reducing the risk that vehicle will be used in attacks. 

The vehicles used in all three terror attacks were vans, so this is something that could affect van rental customers. I should point out that at this stage the scheme is voluntary. Rental firms aren’t required to sign up.

However, those which do choose to follow the new code will be required to meet a set of requirements outlined in a 10-point Code of Practice, including:

  1. Lawfully share data and information with law enforcement
  2. Train staff to identify and report suspicious behaviour
  3. Appoint a recognised security contact
  4. Only accept electronic payment for all or part of the transaction
  5. When ‘handing over’ commercial vehicles to customers, additional security checks should be undertaken

These changes are unlikely to have much impact on customers, from what I can see. The only obvious change might be that customers who pay for rentals in cash will no longer be able to do so. In my experience, this is fairly rare and is not usually allowed by rental firms in any case.

Welcoming the scheme, BVRLA Chief Executive Gerry Keaney said:

“The BVRLA has been instrumental in leading the sector’s response to the emerging and increasingly present threat of vehicles being used in acts of terror. During the past two years we have worked closely with government and law enforcement organisations and although there is no single panacea for combatting terrorism, the vehicle rental sector is committed to doing all it can to deter those seeking to inflict harm on our communities.

Here at vanrental.co.uk, our view is that this scheme is a good idea, in principle. However, as it’s voluntary, it’s not yet clear how many rental firms will actually sign up to the scheme and implement the required steps.

In addition to this, I suspect that many of the larger van rental firms may already have put in place procedures designed to reduce the risk of their vans being used for criminal or terror-related activity.

If you’d like to know more about the scheme or how to apply, you can find full details on the gov.uk website here.

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Cyber Monday: Save 10% at Questor Insurance [expired]

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Did you miss out on our great Black Friday discount code?

Great news! It’s Cyber Monday and we have another 10% discount code for Questor Insurance car and van hire excess protection policies.

This is a great chance to lock in a low rate and save £££, even if you’re not planning to hire a van for another few months. This fantastic discount is valid from 25November 2018 until 28 November 2018.

Here are the details:

** THIS DISCOUNT CODE HAS NOW EXPIRED**

Please check out our Van Hire Excess Insurance page for the latest discount codes.

 

Terms and conditions may apply. See Questor website for details.

Renault Master F1 transporter

Vans you can’t hire – Renault Master F1 transporter

Renault Master F1 transporter

This bespoke Renault Master conversion is being used to transport Renault Formula One cars.

These days, you can hire most popular types of van. But there are some models that are just a bit special and are usually only available if you’re prepared to buy one.

A good example of this is the Renault Formula One team’s new van-based F1 car transporter. Based on the Renault Master large van, this custom-built vehicle carrier is used to transport Formula One cars all over Europe.

Renault F1 car in transporter

It’s a tight squeeze, but with the car’s nose removed the Renault F1 car will fit in this 3.5t van!

I should point out that the cars transported in this new transporter are only show cars. These are static display models based on last year’s R.S.17 car. They have the current livery, but have had their R.E.17 engines removed.

However, the new transporter has turned out to be so useful that it has been used to transport ‘live’ F1 cars to testing and to collect and deliver vehicles that are being worked on at local suppliers.

Renault F1 previously used a tow vehicle and trailer, a contractor or even a 40-tonne lorry to transport its show vehicles. This new solution is cheaper, more manoeuvrable and quicker to unload than any of these. The team says a car can be unloaded by a single person in just 15 minutes.

Unloading Renault F1 car from van transporter

Unloading is quick and easy with the help of a powerful 10.6KN electric winch.

Despite the big body, payload isn’t a problem. The transporter offers a payload of 844kg, which is ample for a show car (350kg) or a race car (700kg). It can also be driven on a normal car licence, increasing the number of team personnel who can drive the van.

This success story highlights a theme we’ve discussed before — having the right-sized van for the job is crucial. Too big is wasteful and expensive. To small is unusable. Kudos to Renault’s converters for devising this neat solution.

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Black Friday discount – SAVE 10% at Questor Insurance [EXPIRED]

Questor Insurance logoGreat news! It’s Black Friday and Questor Insurance is offering customers a fantastic 10% discount on car and van hire excess protection policies.

This is a great chance to lock in a low rate and save £££, even if you’re not planning to hire a van for another few months. This fantastic discount is valid from 20 November 2018 until 25 November 2018.

Here are the details:

THIS DISCOUNT CODE HAS NOW EXPIRED — check out our Van Hire Excess Protection page for the latest deals.

Terms and conditions may apply. See Questor website for details.

Europcar Vauxhall Vivaro Sportive

Europcar upgrades hire fleet with Vivaro Sportive vans

Europcar Vauxhall Vivaro Sportive

Europcar now has Vauxhall Vivaro Sportive vans for hire.

Customers of van hire giant Europcar can now choose to rent a high-specification Vauxhall Vivaro Sportive van.

These generously-equipped vans have been added to the firm’s fleet as part of an upgrade aimed at attracting drivers who need a mobile office space, not just a load carrier.

Vauxhall Vivaro Sportive cab

The middle seat of the Vivaro Sportive can be folded flat to form a desk large enough for a laptop or paperwork. It’s an ideal choice for van drivers who also manage sales on the move or have complex paperwork to handle.

“Adding the Vauxhall Vivaro Sportive to our fleet shows our commitment to reviewing and upgrading our offering to meet the constantly evolving demands of UK businesses”, explained Stuart Russell, Director Commercial Vehicles, Europcar Mobility Group in the UK.

Other treats in-store for Vivaro Sportive drivers include a leather-covered steering wheel, cruise control and rear parking sensors. All popular extras that make life easier or more comfortable for regular drivers.

A new model is coming

As a result of PSA Group’s acquisition of Opel/Vauxhall, the current model is due to be replaced by a new Vivaro based on a PSA (Peugeot/Citroen) vehicle platform in 2019.

I suspect the introduction of the Sportive to Europcar’s fleet may also be due to the fact that the current model Vivaro is now in run-out mode.

Manufacturers tend to offer good deals on high-spec vehicles when a model is nearing replacement as a way of boosting sales. And high-spec models like the Sportive are likely to have stronger resale value when the time comes for Europcar to move them on.

The good news is that the new PSA-based Vivaro will still be built at Vauxhall’s Luton plant, preserving its Made in Britain status. Indeed, PSA plans to upgrade the Luton factory to increase production capacity from 60,000 to 100,000 vans per year.

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Questor Insurance EXCLUSIVE discount code – save 7.5% [EXPIRED]

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Great news! We have another exclusive discount code for Questor Insurance car and van hire excess protection.

This service can be a great way to cut the cost of car and van hire. Questor’s insurance is sometimes much cheaper than the additional insurance sold by the rental firms.

With most companies charging an excess fee of £500-£1,000 on van hire, we believe protecting your excess is essential when hiring a van.

Here are the details:

This discount code has now expired. Please check our Van Hire Insurance page for the latest special offers.

Terms and conditions may apply. See Questor website for details.