Since their introduction to the U.S. market, the small size and maneuverability of compact cargo vans (CCV) have made them appealing options for utility and telecom fleets serving customers in congested city environments.
CCVs were popular options in European and Asian cities before rolling into the United States in 2010, when Ford introduced the Transit Connect. Nissan followed with the 2013 model year NV200, and Ram introduced the ProMaster City in the 2015 model year.
These smaller versions of the manufacturers’ full-size vans give fleet operators a low-cost entry vehicle option in select, well-defined applications, such as for technicians and service personnel and light cargo.
Charter Communications, the second-largest cable operator in the U.S., has about 22,000 vans in its fleet, 1,000 of which are CCVs. The company uses them in cities – 600 in New York City alone – for their size and maneuverability, said Michael Cullen, Charter’s director of fleet management.
CCV use is limited because most cable and telecom operations still need the capacity of full-size vans to handle today’s equipment, but that may change as the market shifts away from set-top boxes to smaller technologies, Cullen noted. That would dramatically change how much space cable companies need in their vans and may drive a shift to compact vans.
“I suspect, over the long haul, you may see cable companies move to that vehicle, but we’re probably a few years from that,” Cullen said.