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Launch of the Modec electric urban delivery vehicle is what it says on the tin – a guide to green cars. That means we don’t ‘do’ commercial vehicles. Until now. Today we’ve had to make an exception, because the Modec van was launched – with the help of The Rt. Hon. David Cameron MP. If Modec can pull this off, and it looks like they can, this will be a very significant vehicle.

Modec say their van is the world’s first commercially viable, zero emission urban delivery vehicle. It’s designed from the ground up around battery power, and made (or ‘assembled’ to be more precise) in Britain (Coventry to be even more precise).

Amazingly, and unlike a long list of previous products of the (ex-)British car industry, it looks like Modec have invested in a product designer. This is a van that says “I am well designed, futuristic and appealing”, and already, before any ‘real’ vehicles have rolled off the production line, many customers obviously share this view, with Tesco leading the queue of 100 advance orders with an initial purchase of 15 vehicles.

The vehicle has a range of 100 miles, so all businesses needing a van with a 2 tonne payload that covers less than 100 miles a day should consider this vehicle – especially if they are located in London, where it will be congestion charge exempt.

What may stop people buying the Modec? Well, at first sight it may seem expensive. The vehicle itself starts at £25,000, then the batteries are on top – these are leased on a monthly basis – and the cost of these is ‘dependent upon use’. However, remember there’s no cost of fuel, and maintenance costs are extremely low, so Modec claim the whole life costs are less than a conventional diesel van.

The Modec is available in a number of models (specifications include a box van, a bare chassis cab and drop-side flatbed or tipper), and was designed with urban deliveries in mind. It features modern high energy batteries (Zebra and Lithium Phosphate) to meet the needs of the city. The vehicle has a governed maximum speed of 50 mph and can achieve 0-30mph in 11 seconds. The standard box van is 12 cubic meters and the van’s kerbside weight is 3.5 tonnes, meaning the GVW is 5.5 tonnes.

Modec is a private company founded by Jamie Borwick, deputy chairman of the British Lung Foundation and former Manganese Bronze chairman, whose vision is to manufacture a practical vehicle to help businesses tackle the growing climate change crisis. The resulting operation is expected to produce 250 vehicles in its first six months at the specially designed manufacturing facility, creating more than 100 new automotive jobs for the Midlands.

Jamie Borwick says: “The Modec makes it easy for a large company to prove to its customers that it cares about their environment and health. The Modec is a profit friendly, driver friendly and environmentally friendly solution for which urban fleet operators have been waiting. Carbon emissions and climate change are causing growing concern. It’s our intention to make Modec the vehicle of choice for fleet operators who are conscious of the cost savings as well as the environmental benefits that using it will deliver.”

A 12-16 seater minibus is also planned for 2008.

Let’s hope Modec can deliver, and maybe the company can show that the British car industry can be resurrected by specialising in producing vehicles that provide solutions to our environmental problems.

For more information about Modec visit