Electrical contractor Trig Hales hit upon a novel solution to the challenge of working and staying away from base during lockdowns – he commissioned a stunning Mercedes-Benz motorhome, as a Covid-secure alternative to staying in a hotel or b&b.
So pleased is Trig with his new Sprinter that he has vowed to continue using it as a luxurious ‘home from home’, irrespective of any pandemic-related restrictions.
The 519 CDI model was supplied by Mercedes-Benz Vans Dartford, together with a 516 CDI van in the livery of Essex Electrical Services, the Purfleet-based business that Trig established in 1993.
Both vehicles have 5.0-tonne gross weights and employ rear-wheel drive – the Sprinter range also includes variants in which the front wheels are driven, as well as well-established 4x4s for off-road applications.
The motorhome is powered by a 3.0-litre V6 that transmits its 190 hp output to the road via a smooth-shifting, seven-speed 7G-TRONIC PLUS automatic transmission. The van’s fuel-efficient 2.1-litre four-cylinder engine produces 163 hp and is paired with a six-speed manual gearbox.
The extra-long L4 519 CDI underwent luxurious Sport Tourer conversion by leading specialist SC Sporthomes, of Torfaen, near Pontypool. Smartly finished in metallic silver-grey, it will sleep four and features living accommodation and a galley with oven, grill and fridge, as well as a shower and toilet.
The vehicle’s exhaustive specification includes a solar panel and gel battery, air-conditioning, central heating, extended waste and water tanks, on board air compressor, jump start points, CCTV, a high-grade entertainment system with TVs in the living area and rear bedroom, and matching leather upholstery throughout.
The medium-length L2, high-roofed H2 516 CDI, for which Trig also ticked numerous items from the Mercedes-Benz Vans options list, is fitted out as a mobile workshop, complete with compressor, invertor power, split charging and work benches. It has been allocated to Fleet Maintenance Engineer Steve Muggleton.
“He loves it!” declared Trig. “Steve’s new van has replaced a 3.5-tonne Sprinter 313 CDI that was registered in 2016. It was a great tool and didn’t let us down once. We’ve upgraded to a 5.0-tonner on this occasion, though, because we’re carrying a lot more tools, equipment and fluids these days. We couldn’t get everything onto the old van without overloading it.”
Essex Electrical Services specialises in commercial and industrial installations and maintenance, and undertakes much of its work for customers from the ports and transport sectors. The company, of which Trig’s wife Jackie is a co-Director, runs a fleet of 12 vans and three trucks of various sizes.
“We are open for business 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and offer an emergency call out service that means we have to be ready to go anywhere at very short notice. We look after a port in Grimsby and I’ve already used the motorhome while working up there.
“It’s great because it means that when the pressure’s on I don’t have to mess about with hotels. Instead, I can just jump in the Sprinter and go. I’ll also make it available to colleagues when necessary… provided they promise to look after it!”
The two new vans are Essex Electrical Services’ first from the third-generation Sprinter range. Trig continued: “Mercedes-Benz vans have always been reliable and cost-effective to operate, but the cab has now been completely redesigned too. It’s very car-like in appearance and I love the layout, particularly the new display, which is brilliant.”
The first van to come with 4G Internet connectivity, the Sprinter comes with a MBUX multimedia system – the optionally upgraded 10.25-inch touchscreen that Trig has specified for his motorhome provides fully integrated navigation with Live Traffic, VAN-to-X Communication and 3D map display, plus “Hey Mercedes” voice command operation and full smartphone integration.
The vehicle also offers class-leading levels of quality, quietness and comfort. Ground-breaking safety features include the autonomous Active Brake Assist system with pedestrian recognition technology and ATTENTION ASSIST, which detects drowsiness in the driver and encourages them to take breaks when tired.
Both of Essex Electrical’s new Sprinters will be maintained under Mercedes-Benz ServiceCare plans by the workshop team at the impressive facility on Rennie Drive which was opened by the supplying Dealer in 2019. Trig added: “From enquiry to delivery, the service I received from Van Sales Executive Lisa Hilferty and her Mercedes-Benz Dartford colleagues was exceptional,” added Trig. “I couldn’t fault them.”