U-Build: The flat-pack revolution for the future
Passionate about making construction more sustainable for everyone, these architectural innovators needed a van as committed to driving positive change as they were.
Designed to make beautiful, flexible, fully bespoke spaces easy for anyone to construct, U-Build is the revolutionary self-build system taking the world of architecture by storm. Find out how their Mercedes-Benz eSprinter is helping them on their mission to make building more accessible while preserving the planet for future generations.
Driving positive change with the fully electric Mercedes-Benz eSprinter
U-Build was established in 2014, the brain-child of architects Wilf Meynell and Nick Newman, who were looking for a way to create high-quality buildings without compromising on sustainability. The decision to go forward with an eSprinter was an easy one to make. Because not only did the choice of an all-electric van save the team time and money, but it also reflected the values of the environmentally-conscious flat-pack system that they had worked so hard to design.
“The Mercedes-Benz eSprinter really represents who we are,” says Ben Pozi-Quansah, who looks after the U-Build brand and client journey. “It’s all about innovation, it’s about being the best, it’s about being green. It’s a vehicle that matches our values, and it’s a great way for us to make that first impression.”
Saving costs across the city
The selection of an eSprinter, Nick goes on to add, was also a way for the company to cut costs across their operation. “We were looking at price, quality, reliability and space,” he says. “The eSprinter was cheaper than a lot of the other brands we’d think of as less premium and lower quality… plus, when you go 100% electric you can go right into the city centre without paying the congestion charge each time – it’s only £10 congestion charge for the whole year. For us, this has meant complete freedom.”
Charging, too, has seen this sustainable construction solution make savings. “It’s just £10-20 to charge the eSprinter up – and you can claim back on expenses for the electricity you use at home.”
Charging couldn’t be easier
The U-Build team operate in and around London, and they spend a lot of time on the move – visiting clients, assessing building sites and delivering materials across the city. So when it came to choosing a van, these intrepid architects knew they needed power they could rely on. And they found it with the eSprinter. “I was surprised by how quickly it was charged up,” recalls Nick. “I assumed it’d take three hours – but it can do a full charge in just half an hour.”
Nick describes his charging routine as simple. “Being in London, we don’t even need to charge every day,” he says. “We usually just do it on the weekends or on an evening. In theory I could charge at home,” he adds, “except we don’t have a driveway – but for people who do, it’s a no-brainer.” The team also make the most of their time by finding a scenic spot to plug in their eSprinter when they’d naturally have a break – over lunch or even when catching up on emails. Nick says “If I’m waiting between meetings, I can use the van’s battery to keep working”. Nick also shared his thoughts on the UK’s ever-improving electric charging infrastructure. “It’s good now – and it’s only going to get better,” he says. “There are now charging points at places people actually want to be. It’s a time and a money saver.”
A range that goes the distance
With its combined WLTP range of 96 miles*, the eSprinter is easily able to handle the U-Build team’s average daily mileage. In fact, the eSprinter’s range is more than sufficient for most businesses in the UK, as Mercedes-Benz found when they analysed 1.6 million customer journeys^. The findings showed that 96% of all journeys were shorter than 62 miles, with many being local to the business premises – so it seems that U-Build aren’t alone in learning that an electric van is beyond capable of going the distance.
* The 96 mile WLTP combine range is based on option 80 km/h speed limiter based on option 80 km/h speed limiter . Electrical WLTP range for the eSprinter in miles (Km): 83 (134) – 110 (178). Electrical consumption in kWh/100 km: 30.6 - 50.6; CO2 emissions in g/km (combined): 0. Figures correct as of August 2020.
^ Mercedes-Benz research analysed 1.6 million journeys anonymously on the EQ Ready app and 96% of all journeys were shorter than 100km (62 miles).