While acknowledging that this approach may not be suitable for every business model, Simon Staton, the client management director for Venson, emphasizes the potential for upsizing to improve a company’s carbon footprint, reduce costs, and enhance productivity.
According to Staton, there is a socio-economic aspect to upsizing that can provide businesses with a competitive edge by demonstrating a responsible corporate image. Although fleet managers may feel uncertain about the process involved in transitioning to larger vehicles, Staton assures that with careful planning, strategic thinking, and relevant guidance, the evolution of a fleet can be carried out smoothly and efficiently.
Venson’s comprehensive whitepaper titled ‘Operating Commercial Vehicles Beyond 3.5t GVW’ delves into various considerations associated with upsizing fleets. It discusses crucial factors such as driver recruitment, vehicle and company compliance, licensing requirements, and the complexities involved in transitioning to commercial vehicles beyond 3.5t.
To operate a vehicle weighing beyond 3.5t (or 4.25t for electric vehicles) up to 7.5t GVW, a C1 license is necessary. For trucks exceeding 7.5t GVW, drivers must hold an HGV Class 2 license. However, it’s worth noting that a driver with a Class 2 license is permitted to operate any rigid truck weighing over 7.5t. Additionally, professional drivers operating HGVs and LCVs weighing 3.5t (or 4.25t for electric vehicles) GVW and above are legally required to possess a Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) qualification. This qualification entails completing 35 hours of training, passing competency exams, and renewing the process every five years to ensure ongoing legal compliance.
Staton highlights the potential payload capacity benefits when upsizing from vans to larger vehicles. While an average large delivery van can typically carry a load weighing 1,000 to 1,800kg, a 7.5t GVW truck can manage 3,000 to 4,500kg, representing a two to threefold increase. This increased capacity allows for the possibility of accomplishing similar workloads with fewer vehicles—an attractive option from both operational and environmental perspectives.
Moreover, Staton notes that the carbon footprint of a 16-tonne GVW rigid truck is generally not vastly different from that of a 7.5t truck. This observation further underscores the potential financial and emissions savings that can be attained by transitioning to larger vehicles. By embracing the concept of upsizing, businesses can unlock numerous benefits, optimizing their fleet operations for greater sustainability, efficiency, and cost-effectiveness.