French van makers Citroën and Peugeot will be offering a unique fleet management system when the new Berlingo and Partner vans go on sale in the second half of this year.
For the first time ever in a commercial vehicle, buyers will be able to specify a device which fits under the dashboard and connects wirelessly to the vehicle’s multiplexed network to transmit to a server mileage, inspection dates, average fuel consumption and other useful data.
Meanwhile, warnings about engine temperature, oil levels, brakepad wear and other critical functions are reported to the fleet manager in realtime.
The new van was unofficially unveiled in Spain last week at the factory where it will be built.
So far 3.2 million Berlingos and Partners have been built since the originals were launched in 1996.
The new van is 4.38 metres long and in standard format offers a load volume of 3.3 cubic metres (against the old model’s 3.0 cu m) and payloads of between 625kg and 850kg.
Later in the year an extended model will be launched with the same wheelbase that will increase load volume further to 3.7 cubic metres.
The load area is wide enough to contain a standard Europallet while six load-lashing eyes will help keep cargo in place.
In the cab, the new van features three seats for the first time, although on our first inspection of the vehicle in Vigo there didn’t appear to be much legroom for the middle passenger.
Meanwhile, this middle seat folds down to reveal a handy desk, while the outer passenger seat also folds to reveal extra cargo space, which allows for loads of up to three metres long to be stored.
Under the bonnet there will be a choice of petrol and diesel engines.
The 1.6 HDi diesel offers 75bhp or 95bhp, while returning 48.7mpg on the combined cycle and emitting 153g/km of CO2. The 1.6-litre petrol offers 90bhp, 34.4mpg and 195g/km of CO2.
There will also be MPV car versions of the two vehicles and a chassis-cab, while the old versions of Berlingo and Partner will continue on sale, re-named First and Origin.
Prices and specification will be revealed nearer launch date.