In the UK, pioneering zero emission vehicle manufacturer Modec officially opened its Coventry factory doors in March. The company's battery powered Modec vehicle provides the world's first high performance, emission free alternative to traditional diesel delivery fleets and has been heralded as the future of urban commercial transport. This vehicle could be a great step towards reducing pollution in congested major cities.
Quiet, efficient, affordable and with the added advantage of zero tax and zero congestion charge, the vehicle has already attracted orders from UK companies Tesco, Hildon Water, Islington Borough Council and dozens of other organisations keen to improve their fleet environmental credentials. Around 500 Modec vehicles are expected to be produced in the first year.
The vehcles, the company stresses, are not green for the sake of it. They are comparable in total cost of ownership to their diesel equivalents, and offer their own advantages beyond the ability to avoid emissions taxes.
The Modec utilises a rechargeable engine capable of 100 miles at its maximum speed of 50mph after an overnight charge. Regenerative braking technology is employed to return charge to the Sodium Nickel Chloride batteries under light braking while retaining full braking power when the pedal's down hard. Torque from the engine is strong at 300Nm, and the vehicle is designed for exceptional commercial practicality with a best-in-class turning circle and extremely quiet operation to reduce noise both for drivers and those in the working environment. Modec has decided on Kumho tyres for the vehicles after a long partnership through the delivery stages.
Addressing customers and media assembled for the factory opening, The Rt. Hon. David Cameron MP said: "Modec has an agenda for the future. I wish the company well—because the truth about carbon change is that we're all in this together. A big congratulations to everyone who has been involved in this project."
Modec is a private company founded by Jamie Borwick, deputy chairman of the British Lung Foundation and former Manganese Bronze chairman, whose vision is to manufacture a practical vehicle to help businesses tackle the growing climate change crisis. The company has made its home in the Midlands automotive heartland, where its arrival heralds a welcome reversal in the region's manufacturing fortunes. Modec now employs ten ex-Peugeot factory staff and a former Jaguar apprentice amongst its 100-strong team.
Jamie Borwick said: "There have been all too many automotive factory closures in the Midlands in recent years. Isn't it fun to open one for a change? What we've done is to make it easy for a company to prove that they care about their customers' environment and health. And the early interest we have already received from major organisations such as Tesco proves it's exactly what operators have been waiting for. A big thank you to all our customers so far. I am also immensely proud of the Modec team and everything they have worked so hard to achieve."
The Modec vehicle, available as a bare chassis cab, a flatbed/tipper or a box van, is the first to effectively harness the power of modern high energy batteries to meet the medium range, high performance needs of the urban delivery marketplace. It has already attracted interest from fleet operators as wide ranging as grocery deliveries, the courier sector, local councils and newspaper distribution.
On a whole life or pence-per-mile basis the Modec is comparable in running costs to a conventional diesel equivalent. The vehicles cost from £25,000 depending on the model, with the battery provided on a monthly rental basis. Incurring zero congestion charge, zero road tax and zero operator licence the Modec makes sound, commercial sense.