The New Ford Ranger Wildtrak

The Ford Ranger Wildtrak was unveiled last month to the European consumer motor market at the annual Geneva Motor Show last month and has been hailed as having ‘21st century muscle and toughness’.

The Ranger model is already the flagship 4×4 from the Ford Motor group and the new improved ‘Wildtrak’ version features many improved features under the bonnet and around the interior/exterior. The engine incorporates a 2.2 litre turbo diesel four cylinder system that certainly gives it the punch that is needed to push its performance specs above of any other vehicles in its category. The Ranger Wildtrak also performs incredibly well when it comes to towing and payload carrying. Announced as being able to pull 7,730 pounds adequately and having a payload capacity of 2,930, it certainly is the vehicle for those in need of a heavyweight work vehicle.

The styling of the Wildtrak is also a major feature of its remodelling, on the outside the first thing you will notice will be its 18 inch alloy wheels, chrome roof rails and side steps. Inside the cab is just as alluring; the Wildtraks dashboard combines the Ranger’s already proven and trusted interior design with some added extras. Dashboard instruments include a display that shows the current off-road angles and even has extra options to include Bluetooth media streaming and ipod/iphone connectivity.

To take a look at the Ranger Wildtrak for yourself, head down to your local Ford Commercial dealer who will give you all of the advice and knowledge you will need when seeking a new 4×4 vehicle for work or play.

Hydrogen vans take flight at Stansted

Stansted Airport has always been known as the greenest Airport in London and this year will celebrate its thirtieth anniversary. The airport has been at the forefront in testing many environmentally and eco friendly ideas and has just started a trial that will highlight the uses and practicality of eco fuel systems.

A launch ceremony for their new hydrogen vans took place at Stansted Airport this month and was attended by over 300 people including members of the government, local council, industry officials and the media. The Airport is one of the first businesses to participate in the (HOST) Hydrogen On-Site Test programme and is expected to use the trial as a basis for the affordability / viability of adding Hydrogen powered fuel cell vehicles to its large fleet of commercial vehicles.

The first stage of the programme has seen two modified Transit Vans join alongside the host of other vehicles that work as the backbone of the airport. One of the differences between this project and other hydrogen based fuel trials is the companies HFuel portable refuelling system. Through the use of electrolysis the system is able to produce hydrogen that is uniquely free of any carbon emissions if linked to a renewable source of energy such as wind power or hydropower.

The airport’s head of health safety commented on the Ford Commercial van trial saying “The airport’s average air quality is well within the EU limits but we’re always keen to seek and explore new opportunities that will further reduce our emissions and our carbon footprint”.

Why Van driving training?

It has been reported then almost one in three accidents on the roadside involve a commercial van or truck driver. Bearing this in mind it has become wise for companies to invest in driving training, these schemes can help individuals to not only become much more safety conscious but also conserve costs for their respective companies.

It doesn’t matter if you are driving a Foray commercial vehicle such as a Ford Transit connect van, costs regarding accidents of any magnitude do not differ and include items such as legal fees, vehicle repair costs and even claims from third parties. By offering drivers the chance to gain a better standard of driving you can also expect to reduce other factors in your everyday business such as the amount of sick days that employees will take and even factors such as license points which can cause a large problem for people working within the driving industry.

One such company that has embraced the idea of training courses is the telecommunications company British Telecom. With one of the largest van fleets in the UK the company has been offering driving training courses to many of its 79,000 employees.

There are numerous companies offering services and courses throughout the UK, many offer both online and practical training courses. There are many people that think that there is only so much you can do on a computer and that you will get the most out of these training sessions by being out in their work surroundings.

One of the ideas behind van driving training is that it doesn’t teach you how to drive better but instead helps you improve upon your perception of risk.

A million pound van shopping spree!

I’m sure everyone knows how popular Ford vans are, especially the Ford Transit van which has won countless awards for its performance and value for money. It comes as no surprise that when companies decide upon which vehicles they want to be used in their fleets that Ford top that list time and time again.

The ESH group has recently joined the list of companies which have done just that! The group, who are the largest indigenous construction group in the North East of the UK, have recently revamped their fleet of vans and have invested in a large number of Ford commercial vehicles.

The acquisition which incorporated a total of eighty four new vans was part of a plan to revamp around 45% of the company’s commercial vehicles. The construction company invested in several different types of van and industrial vehicles including:

18 Ford Transits, short wheel based (econetic)

19 Ford Transits, long wheel based

17 Ford Fiestas (econetic)

As you can see thirty five of the new vehicles use the unique and ground breaking Ford econetic system. This system uses the latest technology to make the commercial van engines as fuel efficient as possible; these vehicles also help the environment by reducing CO2 emissions. It is thought that with current fuel prices that a saving of up to £29,000 per year can be gained, that’s almost a 25% reduction in running costs alone.

The energy efficient Ford Transit vans are also being fitted with devices known as speed restrictors which could further reduce annual running costs as well make the driving experience much safer.

Van drivers steer clear of junk food

Many people have the image of a van or lorry driver travelling throughout the day up and down the motorway, making stops at greasy spoon cafes and tucking into fried breakfasts and burger and chips with plenty of tomato ketchup. These days’ lorry and Transit Van drivers are making a conscious change to become much healthier as a recent survey has found out. The survey was carried out by drivers from all around the country by everyone from Ford Van Dorset drivers to London commercial van drivers.

One of the most popular car and van insurers recently carried out a survey on over 1200 van drivers around the country and has found some great upward trends on the nations ‘White van man’s’ eating habits. Over 66% of van drivers surveyed had started to change their eating habits and cut down on their junk food intake.

Details of the surveys results are broken down as follows;

A whopping 72% of van drivers said that they only ate junk food once per working week.

16% of van drivers questioned ate junk food twice per week.

8% of commercial van drivers said that they ate either three or more portions of junk food per week

Only 2% of drivers regularly stayed clear of junk food and always had nutritional and healthy meal at all times possible,

Results from the survey also show that as an alternative to junk food van drivers were enjoying sandwiches, almost 50% of drivers had turned to sandwiches as a result of trying to enjoy a healthier and more nutritional working lifestyle. Next popular was pasta, salad and then fish at only 2% of the surveyed answers.

Driving Training for Van Drivers

Driver training is important for Transit van drivers, especially people driving vans for work. Not only for safety reasons, but these drivers are often the points of contact between customers and the company they represent. Van driving is often not given the credit it deserves for difficulty. It takes a great deal of skill to safely manoeuvre the vehicle, as the field of view is limited to just front windows and side mirrors normally. Delivery drivers have the added obstacles of parking in busy public areas.

Drivers also need to be courteous on and off the road.  A driver benefits from training because they learn how to drive without causing aggravation to other road users and smooth and safe driving with good perception of road conditions will also save fuel costs and excess repair bills. If drivers are driving more courteously and calmly less accidents are likely to happen reducing insurance costs.

Driver training is becoming more and more common as companies look at ways to create a safer, more efficient travelling/delivery system. Even knowledge of such things as how to evenly load a van can be of major benefit to drivers and vastly affect the vehicle handling. Drivers should also be trained in dealing with heavy lifting. A delivery company would benefit from these things for example, because a driver would be able to drive safely to the delivery point and safely unload the product and ensure it arrives without damage to the recipient. If a driver can get through the days work without causing aggravation, damaging the vehicle and leaving the customer happy, and the boss does not receive calls of complaints about the drivers road conduct, then commercial Van driver training has served its purpose.

Green cars

As the car industry witness a decline in sales figures and the economy struggles to find it feet again, could a standstill in the market be kick started by a new greener choice of car? Big players in the car industry such as Ford are developing eco friendly cars that will be affordable to the masses and offer an alternative to oil driven vehicles.

The Denver Auto Show presented the new greener cars to the public as a more efficient approach to motoring. These cars were not something that was to be launched in the future or even concept cars but these are available now. As it stands a greener solution is not in the pipeline but with in our reach.

Thomas Niemann of Ford Motor Co explained the idea behind their green approach to motoring “Whatever we do has to be affordable and available for millions. It can’t be a niche project,” This is something that Ford is addressing and is obviously considering the masses in this move towards green.

Although the green cars are thought by some, to be a much needed step towards the motor industries impact on the planet.

The opportunity could be in people looking to upgrade their existing cars for something that will offer them the ability to save money and an affordable green car could provide that motivation that people need to change their cars.

Niemann went on to explain that Fords engineers are getting better fuel performance out of traditional petrol cars. The EcoBoost program that has been developed and used by Ford improves the efficiency of fuel by 20% through direct fuel injection and turbo charging. These technologies are usually reserved for muscle cars, yet by 2013, they are expected to be in 90% of the cars that Ford produce and may feature on some of their vans for sale.

Ford also plans to produce, by 2012, at least four battery powered electric models, including a delivery van called the Ford Transit Connect, which will offer up to 100 miles per charge.

The introduction of an electric car will be a giant step in the progression of the motor industry and should pave the way to secure the future of the car. However some people say that car manufactures can not produce some thing that will be affordable enough to completely replace the car as we know. It seems only time will tell.

To view the current range of Ford Commercial vans try the Ford Transit Connect for a good starting point.