IF there’s one good thing to come out of corona, it’s shown us who the real heroes are.
It’s not Harry Kane slotting one in for England, although he’s a genuinely nice bloke.
It’s not some Love Island winner lending their name to a cat sanctuary.
And it’s not Joaquin Phoenix for wearing the same tuxedo more than once to “reduce waste”.
It’s our nurses and carers, obviously, and it’s people like my friend Steve putting in the miles to deliver fruit and veg to our doorsteps.
Sit down, Joaquin — before you get upset, he’s pictured here using an electric van.
Whereas before Steve and his wife Sandra were running a convenience service, now it is absolutely crucial as communities go into virtual lockdown to try to stop the spread of Covid-19.
Unsurprisingly, demand has gone through the roof and Steve is trying to prioritise the elderly, housebound and high-risk.
He said: “We’ve gone from 160 orders last week to 330 this week. We’ve had people on the phone who can’t get out and can’t get a supermarket delivery slot.
“We’re trying to help as many people as we can. If we’d got the manpower and a bigger unit, we could do more.”
Top banana. Now let’s turn our attention to that Mercedes eVito.
It’s the first medium-sized electric van to go on sale in the UK and it has a 93-mile range and takes six hours to fully recharge.
Not much cop for most businesses, then, but for around town delivery drivers doing 40-odd miles a day like Steve, it’s a plum choice. Ta-dah.
As well as being smooth and quiet, and zero emissions, it’s an absolute doddle to drive and costs pennies to recharge.
Plus, road tax is free. Plus, maintenance costs are minuscule because there are no oily bits. Plus, you get free 24/7 breakdown assistance for the life of the vehicle, as you do with all Merc vans.
If you’re good at anticipating traffic flow, you won’t use the brakes much either.
There are four levels of brake energy recuperation — adjusted via steering-wheel paddles — with the strongest allowing you to drive using only the throttle pedal.
Other observations. Heated driver’s seat as standard. Who doesn’t like that? Two passenger seats. Limited to 50mph to preserve range — but ask Merc nicely and they’ll up it to 75mph.
Then there’s the price. On paper, the eVito costs £9,000 more than the equivalent diesel van — but the total cost of ownership over three years is the same.
As for lumping things about, the maximum payload is 923kg, load space is 6m3 and load length is 2.83 metres.
Quick maths. That’s a LOT of fruit and veg.
Good luck to Steve and his team at the Priory Fruit Shop in north Nottinghamshire in the weeks and months ahead — and remember this . . .
Not all superheroes wear capes. Some deliver grapes.
Key facts: Mercedes eVito
Price: £31,895 ex VAT
Power: 114hp, 295Nm
Top speed: 50mph
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