The Evolution of Cargo Vans – How It All Began, What Led to Its Evolution, and Where They Stand Today


How It All Began

The idea behind vans came from the carriages and caravans used in the old days. Back then, the engine was yet to be discovered. So people would move from one place to the other on these carriages pulled by horses. However, once mankind invented the engine, we would replace the horses with them, and officially begin our journey with motorized vans.

Mercedes is credited for inventing the first-ever motorized van almost 12 decades ago. According to their website, that van was referred to as a ‘combination delivery vehicle’. The van itself looked a lot like carriages and caravans we talked a little about earlier. It had the same shape and driver seating position. The horses, however, were taken out of the equation, and in came the petrol-driven engine.

A few years after that, Mercedes came out with the express van, and that vehicle was what had paved the way for the future of vans. The express van had a shape we are all familiar with today. At first glance, it looks a lot like a hearse with a larger cargo bay. Its structure was somewhat perfect for carrying medium to large-sized packages back in those days.

And then came the L319, which began to shape the way Mercedes vans would look today. It was a lot bulkier than the express van and could hold more cargo. The shape was somewhat like a minibus, only fatter you might say. That, however, was the point where the evolution of vans had begun, and we will soon see how other manufacturers joined in.

The Evolution

One of the best-known vans of the early days is the Volkswagen Transporter T1. Born nearly seven decades ago, this vehicle was built on the skeleton of the company’s iconic Beetle car. It was the size of a minibus and could carry people as well as cargo. In current times, the T1 and its subsequent types have become a thing of nostalgia. Some even use it as a ‘hippie mobile’ of sorts. However, back in its time, this vehicle was used to carry all types of things.

Then came the Ford Transit, and the cargo van industry had changed forever.

Cargo vans were now more than just caravans carrying goods. If you were in the logistics business in the mid-1900s and did not own a Transit, you were doing it wrong. One can say that Ford’s simple yet brilliant Transit van paved the way for all modern cargo vehicles.

Where We Are Right Now

The Ford Transit exists even to this day. Of course, it has seen quite the modernization over the last few decades. The van itself has evolved into its present state. Yet, it still carries the same blood that ran through its predecessors almost six decades ago.

Modern cargo vans are efficient in every possible way. The engine, for instance, in today’s vans can put out the same horsepower as a mainstream sedan. Not to mention, the vans have all the comforts you will find in any typical car. Besides, the cargo bay inside these vans is built in such a way that rough weather cannot damage the items inside it.

And there is more to them. You can retrofit these vans to hold all sorts of items, including frozen food, fruits, vegetables, fishes, and medicine. It is very easy to fit a refrigeration unit in these vans. You can also control the climate inside the refrigerated cargo area. Visit the link here to read more about these refrigeration units and how they work.

Things are getting even better with modern cargo vans.

A cargo van in the modern day is a multi-purpose vehicle. Take the refrigerated ones for example. You can now control the climate inside the cargo bay to the point where you can create two different temperature zones in the same van. That allows you to carry different types of products that require different temperatures.

Then you have the way these vans are built. Not only are they fast, but they also guarantee a comfortable ride. That is something you would not have expected in the early days. Back then, all manufacturers cared about was how much cargo these things can hold.

And as time goes by, we will get better and better. There is no limit to how innovative manufacturers can get with these vehicles.


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