Specialist firm Rhodar earns its living by removing dangerous asbestos from buildings – now this champion of the environment is cleaning up its own act with help from Mercedes-Benz. Mercedes-Benz Sprinters

Leeds-based Rhodar has invested in a new batch of 25 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter vans, all of which are equipped with the innovative ECO-Start system. This automatically cuts the engine when the vehicle is stationary for three seconds then re-starts it as soon as the driver depresses the clutch, thereby reducing both fuel consumption and exhaust gas output.

The Sprinter 313CDIs were supplied by dealer Northside Truck & Van, also of Leeds, and replace a previous fleet of Mercedes-Benz vans.

“We’ve been delighted with the performance of those vehicles,” confirmed Group Transport Manager Stephen Haigh. “They proved extremely reliable over the last five years; the engines and gearboxes are seemingly bullet-proof, because they just ran and ran.”

Mercedes-Benz now claims a 75% share of Rhodar’s total fleet of 150 vans, and this is set to increase further with the operator’s next round of orders.

Rhodar’s new vans are now hard at work, transporting work crews, tools and equipment to sites across the UK, typically where asbestos has been exposed during alterations to buildings and needs to be safely removed and disposed of.

Some also tow mobile decontamination units – effectively highly specialised caravans, divided into three compartments. After working on an asbestos site operatives enter at the ‘dirty end’, remove all their protective clothing, then move through to the middle section, which is equipped with showers, before exiting through the ‘clean end’.

Like all new Sprinters, Rhodar’s vans are fitted as standard with Trailer Stability Assist, which works with the Adaptive ESP® electronic stability programme to counteract ‘fishtailing’ and make towing easier and safer.

“I firmly believe that if you give someone a vehicle they’re happy with, they will look after it,” continued Mr Haigh. “And there’s no doubting how much our drivers love their Sprinters – they particularly appreciate the comfortable and well-equipped cabs, and the fact that they have a three-pointed star on the grille!

“The Sprinters’ servicing costs are highly competitive too,” he added. “And although they hardly ever break down, I’m very impressed with the quick and efficient way that Mercedes-Benz has handled the rare problems we have had, thus keeping any downtime to an absolute minimum.

“Good back-up is vital, and the Mercedes-Benz Service 24h system, with its dedicated Customer Assistance Centre, is better than any I’ve come across in all my years in the transport industry.

“As for the ECO-Start system, that’s the icing on the cake – it’s helping us to cut our fuel use and exhaust emissions, particularly in busy city traffic, and thereby reducing our carbon footprint.”

Rhodar is part of environmental services provider Lexia Solutions Group: other divisions include controlled demolition specialist Bagnall; Thermac, which hires equipment to the asbestos removal and construction industry; and consultancy Life Environmental Services.

For more information: www.lexiasolutionsgroup.co.uk