Bevan - Leicester City Council (17)

West Midlands-based manufacturer Bevan Group is working on a second consignment of tipping bodies for 14 FUSO Canter trucks to be operated by Leicester City Council.

The authority, which recently embarked on a major fleet replacement programme, placed its latest order with prime contractor eStar Truck & Van following a comprehensive tender process.

eStar Truck & Van is the newest member of the Mercedes-Benz Trucks UK Dealer network, and, like its fellow franchisees in Britain, is also responsible for sales and support of the popular FUSO Canter light truck range.

Key to the decision was the successful implementation by Leicester City Council’s Parks & Open Spaces team earlier this year, of an initial batch of four Canter 4x4s that are also fitted with bodies by Bevan Group.

Three of these vehicles are specified for arboreal operations. Each high-sided body features an adjustable chip hood and ladder frame. Bevan has also installed a tool pod behind the cab with lockable roller shutter doors on both sides, and a hitch for towing a wood-chipper.

The remaining truck, for which Bevan fabricated a complex sub-frame, has a tipping body with split dropsides and is equipped with a battery-powered Penny Hydraulics PH380 crane with maximum capacity of 2,650kg. This is used by the Council team responsible for maintaining playground equipment and park benches.

The 6.5-tonne Canter 6C18 chassis comes with selectable four-wheel drive, a raised ride height and a generous body and payload allowance of 3.8 tonnes. Powered by a 3.0-litre common rail turbodiesel producing 129 kW (175 hp), it offers an exceptional combination of economy and traction for on- and off-road applications.

Leicester City Council Fleet services manager Steve Kerry explained: “Due to other commitments and the tight financial constraints under which we’ve been operating, some of our vehicles were older than we’d have liked and were becoming costly to maintain. We’ve therefore amended our replacement policy and launched a fleet modernisation initiative, with the Bevan-bodied Canters among the first new trucks to be commissioned.

“The arboreal tippers have replaced 7.5-tonners, while the Parks job was previously being done by a 3.5-tonne vehicle that wasn’t really up to it. As well as having the 4x4 driveline that was a key requisite for these applications, the Canter is impressively robust and offers an excellent payload.

“Bevan Group’s bodies, meanwhile, are fit for purpose and clearly built to a very high standard, so much so that I’ve every confidence they will stand up to arduous use over the 12-year service lives we envisage.

“The feedback we’ve had from the crews who are using these vehicles has been resoundingly positive. The tree and woodlands lads really like their new Canters, not least because the high-sided bodies offer a big increase in carrying capacity compared to the trucks they were using previously.”

Kerry and his colleagues liaised directly with representatives of Bevan Group to fine-tune the body specifications; “I’d not dealt with Bevan Group previously but had a good feeling about them from the outset, and this has proved to be fully justified.

“We started out with drawings of a standard vehicle and then made modifications to meet our specific requirements. The process was both consultative and reassuringly professional, and I’ve felt entirely comfortable in all my dealings with Bevan Group. The finished vehicles look great, very neat.”

Added national fleet sales manager – Truck Jon Roche: “We chose to partner with Bevan Group as it has an excellent reputation and backs its products with an industry-leading five-year warranty, which says all you need to know about the company’s confidence in its build quality. The Bevan team are also great to work with, and we look forward to doing so again on other projects of this kind.”