Electric van charging guide

The idea of charging an electric van is a big change for new and potential electric vehicle owners, but it’s a lot easier than you might think

Renault Kangoo Z.E.

If you’re thinking about purchasing an electric or plug-in hybrid van, it’s important to think where and how you will charge it. Like electric cars, electric vans have to be regularly charged to ensure they can be driven. And because they are often used for commercial purposes, they may have to be topped up more regularly than electric cars that owners only use for commuting.

However, the cost savings can be huge through fuel savings and free road tax. There are grants available to install wallbox chargers in business premises, plus the positive image it projects to customers.

If you’ve made sure an electric van is the right vehicle for your business or personal life, then the next step is to determine where you will charge one.

How to find a charging station

If you park the van overnight at your home or workplace, it’s important to be able to charge it at night. Off-street parking, a garage or a driveway would make this much easier as you can then install a home wallbox charger to recharge the van.

A home wallbox charger will be a worthwhile investment as it will significantly speed up your charging times. Renault, for example, says a 7.4kW home charging unit will charge the 33kWh battery in the Master Z.E. van in six hours, giving drivers 120-miles of real-world range.

If you’re going to be using your van throughout the day, you may have to top it up at a public charging station. Most vans come with a sat-nav that has a database of available charging stations nearby.

However, you can also log on to www.zap-map.com and find stations near you. The app and website shows both the availability of the stations, and how much a charge is likely to cost you.

What connector types do electric vans have?

Most electric vans today feature at least a Type 2 charging portal. This is because in 2014, the European Commission ruled that all public charging stations should feature a Type 2 connector.

For example, the Renault Kangoo Z.E, Nissan e-NV200 and the Peugeot Partner Electric all feature a Type 2 charging portal. However, newer electric vans are also able to utilise rapid DC charging technology.

A rapid 50kW charging portal will be able to charge a Nissan e-NV200 from 20 to 80 per cent in half-an hour, much quicker than a 7kW home wallbox charger. The Nissan e-NV200 also features a CHAdeMO port, allowing to use rapid DC chargers.