Considering an electric van but don’t know if it’s right for you? Our handy guide covers all the essentials – from charging times, to mileage range – here’s everything you need to know.
How many miles can I go?
The point of any vehicle is to get you from A to B in the most efficient way. Traditionally though, driving range is where electric vehicles have lost out to their petrol and diesel counterparts, but that’s slowly changing.
For example, the 2017 model of the Nissan e-NV200 – one of the most popular electric vans in the country – boasts a theoretical driving range of 174 miles on one charge. Older versions of the e-NV200, and the Renault Kangoo (another popular electric van) share an official mileage range of 106 miles – although in real-life driving conditions, it’ll be a bit less.
It’s worth knowing that when Renault conducted their own research, they found that the average van drove 70 miles each day – so neatly within the theoretical (and real-world) limits of the two most popular e-vans on the market.
How long does an electric van take to charge?
Much of this is down to the power source. For example, a DC rapid charger takes around 40 minutes but will only give you about 80% of your battery life; whereas a full charge using a regular 3 pin plug can take anything from four to 12 hours.
Of course, if you do opt for an electric van, you’ll inevitably top up its charge each night just as you would your phone, meaning you should always have a full battery.
Who are electric vans good for?
The beauty of any zero emissions vehicle, is that they’re good for all of us in the long run, but that doesn’t mean they’re a practical choice for everyone.
The combined issues of charging time, and driving range, ultimately mean that electric vans are best suited to urban environments – where power sources can be (relatively) easily found, and where the distance covered is probably no more than the average 70 miles per day.
Electric vans are also city friendly because they save owners the hassle of paying out for additional ‘dirty fuel’ costs such as London’s T-charge.
Van manufacturers understand the importance of payload capacity – taking the two leading e-vans as examples, both the Nissan e-NV200 and the Renault Kangoo, have the same payload capacity as their equivalent diesel counterparts; 770kg and 650kg respectively.
So, if you’re relying on your van to carry stock or equipment, then the great news is that you shouldn’t have to compromise on capacity.
The only consideration you’ll have to bear in mind, is that the more weight your van carries, the less miles it’ll be able to cover, as it’ll need more power to get moving.
Pros and cons
Electric vans might be virtuous, but is one right for you? Here are some pros and cons at a glance so you can judge for yourself:
|Some vans qualify for the government’s Plug-in grant – up to £8,000 if yours meets the criteria||Mileage – although e-vans offer a respectable driving range, for long distance drivers, it’s still not enough without a guarantee of a charging station|
|Lower running costs – although upfront prices can be greater, the cost per mile is less with an e-van||Charging – unlike traditional fuels, there still isn’t a comprehensive network of charging stations|
|Eco friendly||Value – the market is still in its infancy and without any clear path forwards, e-vans tend to lose their value quicker than diesel or petrol vehicles|
|Positive driving experience – e-vans tend to be quieter, and with no traditional gears, they’re smooth to drive (much like an automatic). They also have more ‘get up and go’ as the motors start instantly rather than need warming up||Batteries will eventually degrade – as they age they hold less power, although technology is always improving|