“Super prime” property contractor Cheevers Poole restores, redevelops and reimagines some of the most prestigious addresses in London for highly discerning clients who expect the very best – no surprise, then, that it is now running a pair of electric Mercedes-Benz vans.
The eSprinter and eVito are the first vehicles to wear the firm’s distinctive new branding, and were supplied by Mercedes-Benz Vans Dartford. Practical, comfortable and cost-effective to operate, they also produce zero tailpipe emissions so have no harmful impact on air quality.
The eVito is based at Cheevers Poole’s headquarters in the exclusive Chelsea Harbour development. It is assigned to the company’s Aftercare team of carpenters, electricians, plumbers and other tradesmen, which provides planned maintenance and emergency, round-the-clock call-out support for the owners of properties across the city.
The larger eSprinter, meanwhile, works from Cheevers Poole’s storage facility in the western suburb of Heston, where charging points have been installed. It is on ‘lift and shift’ duties, so used to transport materials and tools – including mobile towers, and lighting and heating equipment – to and from project locations in central London.
Established in 2013, the business traded as Cheevers & Howard Construction until April of this year. The change of name reflects the close working relationship between Managing Director Phil Cheevers and Operations Director Derek Poole – the two have known each other for 15 years and since they teamed-up seven years ago Derek has played a key role in driving its growth.
“Phil and I are friends as well as colleagues,” he explained. “We share the same commitment to excellence and attention to detail, and are proud to work with incredible partners and some of the finest architectural and consultancy talents in our industry.
“With the support of our highly skilled and capable team – which includes estimators, quantity surveyors, design and project managers, site crews and administrators – we are now embarking on the next phase in our journey with an unwavering resolve to deliver projects that continue to transcend all expectations.”
Derek recalled: “We’ve been forging ahead strongly and needed a couple of new vans reasonably quickly. Given that we undertake all but a small proportion of our work in London, where we are working at any one time on more than 10 projects of varying sizes, vehicles with electric drivetrains clearly represented the best solution.
“We’re not doing huge mileages, so range was not a major concern. Fully-electric vans are also exempt from the £15 per day Congestion Charge, while we benefit from parking discounts too – in Westminster, for example, we only pay for the first 10 minutes in an on-street bay.”
He continued: “We chose Mercedes-Benz vehicles because the eSprinter and eVito are ideally sized for our different applications, and because the three-pointed star conveys an unrivalled image of quality that complements our own brand values perfectly. We’ve also had a very positive experience with the diesel-engined Sprinter that we bought in 2015 and have retained as a back-up.”
Both of Cheevers Poole’s new vans are powered by 114 hp electric motors that drive the front wheels via single-speed automatic transmissions. Their high-voltage battery packs – 55kWh in the case of the eSprinter, 41 kWh for the eVito – are securely mounted in protective housings beneath the bodies, so do not impinge on cargo carrying space.
Recuperative energy recovered when decelerating supplements the output of the batteries, which come with guarantees lasting eight years or 160,000 km/100,000 km respectively for the eSprinter and eVito.
The 3.5-tonne eSprinter will travel 95 miles (combined WLTP with 80 km/h speed limiter) between battery charges. The L2 (medium length), H2 (high roofed) vehicle offers a cargo area of 11m3, which is identical to its diesel-engined front-wheel drive stablemate, and half a cubic metre larger than its rear-wheel drive equivalent.
The L2 (long) 3.2-tonne eVito has a 905 kg payload capacity. With sliding doors on both sides, and twin rear doors that open to 180o, it provides easy access to up to 6.0m3 of cargo space. The van’s average range on a full charge is 91-92 miles (WLTP combined).
Both models come in PROGRESSIVE trimlines which include TEMPMATIC air conditioning as standard and a full complement of active and passive safety technology. Cheevers Poole specified its eVito with optional colour-coded bumpers.
Derek Poole has driven both vehicles. “They’re beautifully put together,” he reported. “Acceleration is instantaneous and the drive is exceptionally comfortable and smooth, not least because there are no gearchanges.
“The guys who use them on a daily basis are every bit as enthusiastic as me about our new vans, which look really smart in their full wrap liveries. We don’t shout about their ‘green’ credentials, but it’s certainly gratifying to know that we’re doing our bit for the environment.”
Mr Poole praised the support he received from Mercedes-Benz Dartford Van Sales Manager John O’Loughnane and Van Sales Executive Lisa Hilferty. “It was all done over the phone and they were both extremely helpful, making the process as easy as possible for me,” he said.
The Dealer arranged administration of the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) grant contributions first for the eVito and then, shortly afterwards, for the eSprinter. When the Government reduced the sum payable for 3.5-tonne vans from £8,000 to £6,000 just after Cheevers Poole confirmed its order, Mercedes-Benz Vans Dartford swung into action on behalf of its customer.
“John and his team worked very hard in launching an appeal,” said Derek. “We thought we’d missed out, so were delighted to receive a refund cheque the other day for the £2,000 balance. At Cheevers Poole we pride ourselves on the quality of service we provide to our clients, and we expect the same high standards from our suppliers. We certainly couldn’t have asked any more of Mercedes-Benz Vans Dartford.”
Both vehicles will be maintained under attractively priced, fixed-cost Service Plans. Like all Mercedes-Benz vans, they are also backed by three-year, unlimited mileage vehicle warranties and came with MobiloVan cover, which includes free round-the-clock emergency roadside assistance.