So we focused our efforts on constructing the bodies using the same sandwich panel technology we’d used to create a press formed composite rail door for London Underground. By moving away from manufacturing parts in an autoclave, and press forming the panels instead, we could cut the time it takes to construct each part from more than three hours, to just minutes.
And on top of that, we built from scratch a robotic assembly line that can build a finished body every 42 minutes – significantly quicker than the two-weeks a typical manual build takes with carbon fibre.
Uniquely, our van bodies have a 10-year lifespan (and structural warranty), as they can be moved to a new chassis after 5 years – which is also a key factor in their price competitiveness. And we’ve future-proofed them by making them compatible with electric and hybrid vehicles, as well as diesel.
All in all, it’s been a phenomenal team effort – using materials and production techniques which we’ve been developing for more than 10 years. What’s more, we strongly believe our ‘Blue Ocean Home Delivery Pods’ (so-called because of the sizeable amount of recycled plastic in their build) will bring a huge range of benefits to last-mile delivery fleets: for everything from groceries and parcels, to electronics and white goods.
Payload is boosted by almost 50% compared to competitor vehicles, because of the weight savings made, meaning significantly more goods can be carried per vehicle, per journey. And we’ve achieved significant improvements in fuel economy too, thanks to the aerodynamic technologies we’ve applied to the design.
All of which offers substantial savings in fuel, labour and operating costs, plus emissions reductions. Our extensive testing shows a typical supermarket fleet could save up to £6,700 per van, per year!