Hitachi Capital Commercial Vehicle Solutions has teamed up with bodybuilder Solomons to develop a prototype refrigerated box van for Cornwall-based bakery manufacturer Ginsters.

The vehicle’s sleek new aerodynamic box body design with a distinct wavy roofline and streamlined Thermo King cab-mounted fridge unit aims to reduce fuel consumption by up to five per cent.

Based on a Mercedes Sprinter 3.5 tonne GVW chassis the vehicle will be run for six months alongside a regular box van on identical routes in the Midlands region where its fuel consumption will be closely monitored through its on board telematics system.

The body is made of a standard three element insulated panel design with the fridge capable of transporting both chilled and frozen goods up to -20 centigrade. Another modification is the box body’s rear step and door configuration, designed to improve driver safety when unloading the van.

“Our fleet of box vans carry out the very high profile role of delivering our bakery products into thousands stores across the UK on a daily basis and we are looking forward to seeing the results of the trial. Once we have the results we will then decide on whether to extend the trial,” said Andrew Gibbons, Ginsters’ fleet continuous improvements manager.

Hitachi Capital will have supplied over fifty of Ginsters vans on a contract hire basis by the end of 2013 on four year deal.They also manage Ginsters’ fleet maintenance provision through the Mercedes network.

“It is a common theme for fleets to want to reduce fuel consumption and we believe a partnership approach, working with a trusted supplier, in this case Solomons and Thermo King, is the way ahead. We should get an initial view after the six months trial where Ginsters can make some more longer term planning on its fleet strategy,” said Jon Lawes, managing director Hitachi Capital Commercial Vehicle Solutions.