• September 15, 2022

  • Abby Nuttall

  • Electric and Hybrid News

With last week celebrating World EV Day we wanted to take a look at one vehicle that doesn’t always get a lot of attention when it comes to electric vehicle (EV) discussions – vans! In this article we’ll look at the benefits and drawbacks of electric vans, what to consider when integrating them and how to add them to your fleet.

Electric vehicles are becoming a more common sight on UK roads and will continue to be so as the government has put in place a ban on the sale of all new petrol, diesel and hybrid vehicles from 2030. To make sure that their vehicles are still suitable for the UK market which is why we’re seeing an increase in the models available and with the investment and advances in EV technology electric vans are now a viable option for a lot of businesses.

Benefits of Electric Vans

There are many benefits to adding electric vehicles to your fleet and we’ve covered the general ones in our EV benefit page so here we want to highlight the benefits of electric vans specifically.

  • More room for cargo – electric chassis designs have been modified to provide the maximum cargo space possible and this means that batteries are stored under the floor to ensure they provide the same if not more space for drivers.
  • Powerful motors that give the same power as you would with an internal combustion engine (ICE) so unlike at the start of the EV movement you won’t be left feeling as though your van is lacklustre.
  • Cargo vans are often parked at drop-off points for a few minutes and whilst the ignition should always be turned off we know there are occasions when it isn’t, but with an EV you won’t need to worry about harmful CO2 and NOx emissions or noise pollution caused by the vehicle.
  • Fewer moving parts reduces the need for maintenance work, so lowers the maintenance costs associated with vans.
  • Most EVs use regenerative braking to recapture energy when braking as well and this will reduce the wear to the brakes and so reduce maintenance costs for them as well.
  • Electric vans pay no road tax which means if you purchase them outright you will not need to pay any VED.

Considerations with Electric Vans

Though there are many benefits to driving electric vehicles there are a few considerations you need to think about:

  • Range anxiety – electric vans have a limited range before they need charging and they will not travel as far between charges as an ICE powered van would on a tank of fuel.
  • Charging time – the time it takes to charge an electric van will vary and some can go from 20% to 80% in under 40 minutes however this depends on the speed of the charger available.
  • Charger location and availability – although the UK public network is expanding there will need to be many more in order to keep up with the expected uptake of EVs and with more people driving EVs demand for these chargers is increasing. Additionally, these chargers may not always be conveniently located for your driver’s route and more planning will need to go into the route mapping to ensure timely charging stops. To combat this you may want to add chargers at your business locations to charge the vehicles at convenient times, though this may not totally remove the need to charge on the go.
  • Purchase cost – the cost of purchasing an electric van outright, on a contract purchase agreement or even leasing one will be higher as they are currently more expensive than their petrol and diesel counterparts.
  • Weight – an electric battery and motor system can be heavier than an ICE which leads to a greater weight overall for the vehicle.

Three Questions to Ask Before Investing in Electric Vans

1. Will Your Drivers Need Additional Training?

An electric vehicle will require a slightly different driving style than your drivers might be used to with their current vans due to the regenerative braking they use.

Additionally, all EVs are automatic vehicles so if a driver has only ever driven a manual before then this will be an adjustment for them.

We advise speaking to your teams to see how confident they feel with automatic transmissions and electric vehicles and providing additional support to those who feel they need it.

2. How Far Do Your Drivers Travel?

If you are installing EV chargers at your business premises, then this can be considered in terms of daily need rather than a longer time frame. Then you’ll need to see if there is a van which fits this mileage range or close to it and would only need a small charging break in its route.  

3. Do Your Drivers Have Access to Suitable Charging Points?

Are your drivers able to have home charging units installed? Will you be installing units at your business so they can charge while at work? Are there enough public chargers available on their routes? You need to seriously consider in charging infrastructure on your property if you are able to, to make the transition as easy as possible.

How to Integrate Electric Vans into Your Fleet

Each business’ journey to electrifying their fleet will be different depending on their needs but there are a few general steps we think everyone should follow.

First, think realistically about the range of the vehicles available within your budget and whether these meet your vehicle needs. If they do then you want to develop a plan for how you will gradually introduce them into your fleet to avoid a sudden complete change that could cause unexpected issues.

As well as ordering the vehicles, whether this be to purchase or lease, there are two other areas you want to prepare and put a plan in place for – driver training and charging. How much investment each of these will need depends on your business and drivers but you’ll want to make sure that all of your drivers feel comfortable and are safe behind the wheel of an EV and that there is enough information and charging opportunities for them, whether this is on site or utilising the public network.

If you need any help with integrating electric vans or any other aspect of fleet management please get in touch with our team on 01722 233 888.


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