Less than nine months after it purchased its first fully electric Mercedes-Benz van, Dorset-based material science and technology leader Superior Seals has returned to Dealer Rygor Commercials for a second.
The new arrival is one of the first 3.5-tonne eSprinters to hit UK roads, and is now working alongside the 3.2-tonne eVito the high-tech company purchased in March. Reflecting its commitments to sustainability and the environment, both offer zero tailpipe emissions.
The two vans are transporting finished goods, raw materials and tools between the company’s five manufacturing sites, all of which are located within a seven-mile radius of its head office in Wimborne.
Superior Seals has been in the forefront of the battle with Covid-19, producing more than one million o-rings and other sealing solutions that have been used to help combat the virus. Its products are used in disinfectant sprayers for sanitisation, pressure regulators and valves for critical care, and sterile clean connectors for medical application, as well as water treatment, food processing and filtration equipment.
The company was also involved in the manufacture of hundreds of ventilators for use in the NHS Nightingale Hospitals; its o-rings protect and optimise the functionality and performance of the equipment.
Closer to home, Superior Seals has been providing every member of its workforce with a packed lunch during the pandemic. It has teamed-up with a former employee who now runs a café in Bournemouth, and each day the eVito is also used to collect more than 180 bags containing fresh-filled baguettes and other treats which are then delivered across the sites, a round trip of 28 miles.
The eVito replaced one of Superior Seal’s three conventionally powered Sprinter vans; it also operates a 7.5-tonne Mercedes-Benz Atego truck. However, as Managing Director Tim Brown explained: “While the eVito is certainly spacious we do often require the extra load capacity that only a Sprinter can provide. The ability to carry three Euro pallets in one trip is invaluable for us, and it’s on this front that the eSprinter truly delivers.”
The L2 H2 eSprinter’s 55 kWh high-voltage battery pack is securely mounted beneath the body, so does not impinge on cargo carrying space – at 11m3 the van’s load volume capacity is identical to that of its diesel-engined stablemate.
The front-wheel drive eSprinter’s electric motor produces 114 hp and 295 Nm of torque. The vehicle comes in the PROGRESSIVE trimline, and offers an average range of 96 miles. Its four parallel batteries are fully rechargeable in around eight hours using a 7.4 kW wall box charger.
Customers can also choose from two DC fast-charging systems. The 80 kW option will top up the battery pack from 10% to 80% of maximum in just 30 minutes. Given that its own van is unlikely ever to exceed the daily range achievable from an overnight charge, however, Superior Seals was happy to take the 20 kW alternative, which will do the same job in a couple of hours.
The eSprinter also relies on recuperative energy recovered when it is decelerating to supplement the batteries’ output. Drivers can use gearshift paddles on the multifunction steering wheel to alter the recuperation mode.
In addition to the eSprinter and eVito Superior Seals runs a pair of electric cars and a small electric van by another manufacturer. It has overnight charging stations at two of its sites, and plans in the near future to invest in new 22 kW DC Rapid and 22 kW AC chargers.
Tim Brown continued: “The eVito has surpassed all our expectations and I’ve every confidence that the eSprinter will do likewise. Both are beautifully put together, and offer a smooth, highly responsive drive. They also look amazing in their Brilliant Silver metallic paintwork, and Superior Seals liveries that highlight their zero-emissions credentials.
“We run our business as responsibly and sustainably as we can, not least because respecting the environment means using less energy, water and materials, thereby saving on costs and creating a competitive advantage.
“Just as there can be no compromise in the products we supply to our global customer base, so there is no cutting corners when it comes to our environmental commitments. It is therefore gratifying to know that these highly impressive Mercedes-Benz vans are making a real contribution by helping us to reduce our carbon footprint.”
Superior Seals has been dealing with Rygor Commercials since 2012. Mr Brown added: “Things are obviously difficult at present but the Dealer’s team worked hard to ensure everything ran smoothly, with its Van Sales Executive Ben Howlett conducting a socially distanced handover for the eSprinter.
“Rygor is not particularly local to us – its Westbury HQ is more than 40 miles and over an hour’s drive away – so the fact that we’ve not been tempted to find a more conveniently located supplier is testament to the quality of our relationship.”
Ben Howlett added: “Superior Seals is certainly charging ahead in its adoption of electric vehicles. But with our growing family of intelligently connected Mercedes-Benz eVans, and the depth of support we can offer, for example when it comes to securing grants worth up to £8,000 from the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) and arranging for the installation of charging infrastructure, Rygor is also perfectly placed to help other customers make the switch to sustainable mobility.”