What are the benefits of driving an electric courier van?
If you live in London then driving an electric van has huge benefits, especially when it comes to the ULEZ charges imposed on vehicles. If you’re driving a vehicle inside the Ultra-Low Emission Zone then that doesn’t meet the minimum emissions standards then you are required to pay a daily fee of £12.50 for vehicle up to 3.5 tonnes and £100 for vehicles over 3.5 tonnes. As providers of courier insurance, we’ve put together our top 5 need-to-knows about electric courier vans and a list of the best UK electric vans currently available and future models to look out for.
1. Plug-In Grant
If you’re making the move to an electric van, then you may be eligible for a handsome sum of money from the government toward the price of your vehicle. However, the van you propose to buy must have CO2 emissions of less than 75g/km and can travel at least 10 miles without any emissions at all. If it is, then you could receive a grant for 20% of the purchase price up to a maximum of £8,000.
2. Green Company Image
One huge benefit of having an electric van is the positive representation of your company or business from an ethical PR perspective. It shows you’re working towards being greener which can lead to more customers wanting to place business with you. It also shows you’re forward-thinking and preparing for the future, another thing which strikes well in the minds of potential customers.
3. Is The Battery Big Enough?
Currently, there is 1 public charging point for every eight electric vehicles in the UK, so this means there’s always a chance the charging point you plan to use is already being occupied by somebody. Fear of your van not lasting the distance required or running out of charge in the middle of nowhere is always something asked of any electric vehicle owner but there are apps out there that can help track down available charging points like ZapMap.
4. Winter Battery problems
One big issue with all-electric vehicles is the impact cold weather has on the functioning of the battery. In a study by the AAA, they found that range can be reduced by up to 41% in winter, leaving you feeling even more battery anxiety than usual. So, if you live in a typically cold area, you may want to ask yourself if it would still be a viable to use as a courier van during the winter months.
One major problem with the introduction of electric vans is that they generally tend to weigh much more than their fossil fuel alternatives. So much so that before the van has even been loaded, they can almost be exceeding the 3.5-tonne maximum payload for drivers.
The reason for the increase in weight is due to the huge batteries used to power the vans. However, the government has since addressed this issue which has further increased the incentive to potential electric van buyers. This scheme is called the Alternative Fuel Payload Derogation and the government intends to implement an increased payload limit of 4,250kg for alternatively fuelled commercial vehicles.
So, if you’re set on making the switch to an electric van then you’re probably wondering which is best? Currently, the market for alternatively fuelled vans is still quite small but the good news is that it’s growing. There are more vehicles being added each year and if the vans on show at the Commercial Vehicle Show 2019 are anything to go by, then there’s plenty to be excited about.
Here’s our list of the best electric vans currently available (prices are in ascending order and are correct at the time of writing this blog 10/10/2019)*
PEUGEOT PARTNER ELECTRIC
Price: from £16,269
Range: 106 miles
Space: 3.3 cubic meters
The Peugeot Partner Electric van is ideal for couriers who make deliveries within a small radius as the vans low price and range can be perfect if you’re making multiple stops. The van is capable of fast charging and can charge to 80% in 35 minutes. However, the battery guarantee on this van is only 3 years, which is shorter than most others.
Price: From £20,500
Range: 174 miles
Space: 4.4 cubic meters
One of the most popular electric vans currently available on the market, the Nissan E-NV200 boasts an impressive range of 174 miles. It also features rapid charge technology which can charge the van from 20% to 80% in just 40-60 minutes. This means you can put your electric Nissan van on charge whilst on your lunch break and be ready to go again by the end of lunch.
RENAULT KANGOO ELECTRIC
Price: from £23,472
Range: 124 miles
Space: 3 cubic meters
One of the first to market, the Renault Kangoo electric van has gained a lot of respect for its range and low price. There are different options available and you can choose the standard model which has 3 cubic meters of space or the more expensive option, Maxi which has up to 4 cubic meters load capacity. Like all the vans listed, winter takes a serious toll on the range of the battery and the cold weather can cause the range to drop by almost 50% to 74 miles. Something any potential buyer should take into consideration. The Renault Kangoo comes with a 5-year battery guarantee, which is reassuring for those looking to invest in their first electric vehicle.
RENAULT MASTER Z.E.
Price: from £57,000
Range: 74 miles
Space: 8 cubic meters
The Renault Master ZE is one of the more expensive vans on the list with prices starting from an eyewatering £57,000. The thing that makes this van different from the rest is that there are lots of different variations available. It comes in short, medium and long wheelbase and there is also a flat-bed version available with up to 22 cubic meters of load volume.
HERE ARE THE ELECTRIC VANS THAT ARE COMING…
Range: 160 miles
Space: 4.2 cubic meters
The Volkswagen e-Caddy was unveiled at the CV Show in September 2018 and it was believed they would go on sale mid-2019. However, this date has since passed, and we still haven’t got much more information on the actual release dates or pricing of the VW electric van. However, the e-caddy is shaping up to be a desirable vehicle and with a range of 160 miles, it will be perfect for short journeys around any city.
Price: from £22,000
Range: 200 miles
Space: 5 cubic meters
This fully electric van will be available in 2020 and of all the vans listed, it is by far the cheapest when factoring in the range. The 5 cubic meters provide ample space for couriers and if that’s not enough then you can opt for a long-wheelbase version which has an increased storage area of 6 cubic meters.
ELECTRIC VANS OF THE FUTURE?
Electric vans have made huge strides in the last 5 years and if the progress continues at the current rate then in the next 5 years, we’re hopefully going to see some major new developments.
Companies are now very aware of the social and environmental benefits of being a green company and this is being further driven by the big companies such as Amazon, who have recently placed an order with Rivian, for 100,000 electric delivery vehicles.
So, what can we expect future courier vans? It may seem far fetched now but it’s a real possibility that courier vans in the future are autonomous, with deliveries being made to depots for collection. We could even see the courier van slowly be replaced by drones, with technology moving at its current pace, the possibilities for vehicles in the commercial sector are endless!