Electric Vans – Are They Up to the Job?

Business Insights

For many commercial vehicle drivers and fleet operators eco-friendly commercial vehicles is front of topic. With the government incentives and road to zero strategy brought forward 10 years anyone in the commercial vehicle space knows that their next set of vehicles has a whole host of challenges to comply with. What’s more should you be looking to win or renew any tenders, especially where vehicles drive through and in city centres you better make sure the vehicles fit the environmental requirements such as CAZ and ULEZ. Late last year the government brought forward the ban on petrol and diesel vehicles to 2030 with a £1.3billion budget to help accelerate the switch from combustion engines.

So electric vans you say? Yes fully electric vans are already available from one or two manufacturers while the others are still getting their offering finalised. Nissan have been early to market with the ENV – models however van drivers favourites, the Ford Transit, Mercedes Sprinter and VW Transporter are all still to introduce their fully electric models to market. For the product that is available pricing and availability have turned much interest off with funding companies not quite sure how to set residual values on the unknown. But putting that to one side the total cost of usership will make your eyes light up with significantly reduced service intervals, cheaper fuelling/charging costs and the tax benefits. These three factors have created somewhat of a storm and the levels of interest and demand are growing and growing.

Vehicle Leasing Broker Rivervale has seen a huge demand from its customer base for electric commercial vehicles and as such took the decision to take on a Maxus franchise. Maxus is the new name for the LDV brand, and is focused on bringing electric vans to the market. So why Maxus? Well the current availability and technical specifications of its competitors on the market make it a front runner, not to mention the 5 year warranty. Maxus is owned by Chinese firm SAIC Motor, which also owns MG with its newly launched MG ZS EV electric SUV, currently the third highest selling fully electric car in the UK. The medium sized e Deliver 3 panel van comes in various power outputs and battery sizes (35kWh and 52.3kWh), along with short wheelbase and long wheelbase variants with a range of 150 miles on a charge. The e Deliver 9 is comparable to a Ford Transit with a range of circa 220 miles on its 50kW battery. Vince Pemberton, COO of the group added:

“We have seen the demand for electric vans increase. This year alone, we know that over 20% of our LCV leasing enquiries have been on electric vans and moving forward we anticipate further demand.”

What about charging and range? A point of contention for many is the charging infrastructure and rapid charge times/availability. For example if you a driving over your range threshold within a day and need to charge how is that going to impact efficiencies? While a very valid point it’s important to remember ‘duty of care’ and the positive impact on the environment. As feel managers ensuring your driver stake adequate breaks can be a challenge however if they have to re-charge to continue this becomes easier. The positive impact on the environment is the primary reason for the shift in power source and that mustn’t be forgotten.