The future of LCVs

With over four million vans on the UK roads, Moneybarn explains how safety, security and innovative technology in Light Commercial Vehicles (LCVs) are improving year on year and slowly closing the gap between them and cars.

When driving a larger vehicle, one may not realise how different elements can play a huge role in performance capabilities. Manufacturers are now creating advanced safety features designed to help protect drivers.

Driver airbags and ABS (anti-lock braking system) are standard on the vast majority of commercial vehicles; however, blind-spot monitoring and collision prevention technology are options only slowly being introduced into LCVs.

ESC (electronic stability control) technology on vans is also becoming more sophisticated, with sensors detecting the payload of the vehicle and where in the van the mass is situated. It can then adjust the behaviour of the system when it’s activated.

It’s claimed a van is broken into and tools stolen every 23 minutes in the UK, so clearly security for LCVs is of high importance. As a basic requirement, every van could have an alarm and immobiliser fitted as standard and these systems could be Thatcham Category 2 approved.

Electronic GPS trackers can also vastly improve the chances of recovering a vehicle if it’s stolen and along with dash cams have the potential to lower insurance premiums and accident costs. Insurers are accepting dash cam footage when reviewing claims and some offer discounts to policyholders that have a fully-functioning dash cam installed.

Many manufacturers are focusing on making it easier for drivers to maintain their van’s upkeep. Well-maintained vehicles preserve resale values, last longer, improve driver safety and reduce the risk of breakdown.

Manufacturers are also introducing productivity and vehicle management systems, with enhanced functions such as vehicle health alerts and systems which tell the status of fuel levels and tyre pressure before getting behind the wheel.

While AEBS (autonomous emergency braking system) is fitted as a standard in medium and large trucks, it is only just starting to trickle down to the LCV sector. By monitoring the road using radar and other sensors, they provide warnings to the driver and, when faced with the risk of a collision, automatically apply the brakes which can greatly improve on-the-road safety.

Manufacturers have also started to expand more into the electric vehicle sector. With further regulations coming in, like the low-emission zones or the diesel tax, vehicles – especially in business fleets – need to comply and modernise to remain competitive.