Sixty years on and family firm LH Evans is still leading from the front with battery-powered Mercedes-Benz eSprinter

Electrical wholesaler LH Evans has marked its Diamond Anniversary year by commissioning its first battery-powered van, a Mercedes-Benz eSprinter supplied by Dealer Euro Commercials.

The Cardiff-based operator’s new vehicle is now undertaking deliveries around the Welsh capital, where its electric driveline is ideally suited to the typical pattern of short distances with frequent stopping and starting.

Established in 1962 and still family-owned, LH Evans now has branches across Wales. It regularly sends vans on longer-distance runs throughout the country, so also needs the flexibility and extended range offered by conventional vehicles. This explains why Euro Commercials will shortly be delivering another seven diesel-engined Sprinters to its long-standing customer.

All are replacements for the LH Evans’ previous fleet of vehicles, which are being stood down at the end of their contract hire periods. The company has operated an all-Sprinter line-up for the past ten years and its new vehicles will be the subjects of similar arrangements with Mercedes-Benz Finance.

“The past decade has shown that we can rely on both our Sprinters and Euro Commercials to provide reliable, cost-effective service,” said Finance Manager Mark Etchells. “The vehicles are built to a very high standard and with the Dealer’s workshop open 24 hours a day, downtime is kept to an absolute minimum.

“The eSprinter builds on that quality buts adds the advantage of a battery-powered driveline. For urban operation, in and around Cardiff, it’s ideal. Not only are there no exhaust emissions but it’s great to drive too, with instant torque, smooth running, very little noise and no gear changes to worry about.”

The eSprinter is powered by a 114 hp electric motor that drives the front wheels. It can travel 95 miles (combined WLTP with 80 km/h speed limiter) on a single charge – ample for most urban delivery and ‘last mile’ applications. Recuperative energy recovered when decelerating supplements the batteries’ output. 

The vehicle is based on the L2 (medium length), H2 (high roof) Sprinter. Its 55 kWh high-voltage battery pack is securely mounted beneath the body, so does not impinge on cargo carrying space. As a result, the eSprinter’s 11m3 load volume is identical to that of its diesel-engined, front-wheel drive stablemate, and half a cubic metre larger than the rear-wheel drive equivalent.

“We’re keen to do everything we can to minimise the effect of our operation on the local environment, and to prepare for any future restrictions on the use of diesel and petrol vehicles in city centres,” continued Mr Etchells. “The fact that we can dedicate one vehicle to short-radius work, where the daily distances are well within its range capability, means we’ve been able to take this step with confidence.”

LH Evans’ diesel Sprinters are all 315 CDI models, with 150 hp/340 Nm 2.0-litre engines. Six are long-bodied L3 variants while one has an extra-long L4 body, the largest in the range. Like the eSprinter, all were specified with PROGRESSIVE trimlines which include TEMPMATIC air conditioning and a full complement of active and passive safety equipment. 

Meanwhile, ‘Mercedes me’ employs 4G Internet technology to provide operators with remote access to data on the vehicle including its location and remaining battery charge. The eSprinter is charged overnight – and sometimes topped up in the afternoon, so it can make more drops if required – using an 11kW wall box supplied by Rolec Services, of Boston, Lincolnshire.

LH Evans was founded by Lyn Evans; his son Andrew is the current Managing Director. The company provides a wide range of electrical components, lighting and cabling to clients in a range of manufacturing industries, as well as others including housing associations, schools and hospitals.