Would an electric van suit your business?

Think an electric van will boost your business? You may be right. Before taking the plunge, read on to make sure you know the crucial questions to ask

There are over four-million vans, or light good vehicles, on UK roads. Not only do they represent a significant part of road users, but they are a vital cornerstone of the British economy. Businesses from small to big depend on vans to deliver goods and transport tools and equipment.

Electric vans are slowly growing in popularity, with more makers introducing electric van models every year. Electric vans offer some key benefits over their engined counterparts, but before you make the jump to greener motoring, it’s important to think whether an electric van suits your business.

What to consider when thinking about buying an electric van

The first thing to think about is the kind of driving required from the van. Does your business regularly require drivers to do long drives on motorways, or are they mostly used in the city.

Electric vans are limited in their range, more than electric cars. For example, the Renault Master Z.E. electric van comes with a real world range of around 75-miles, while the Nissan e-NV200 comes with a 106-mile real-world range.

The next thing to consider is the kind of equipment and payloads you will carry. Until recently, light-good vehicles were limited to a 3,500kg gross vehicle weight, or maximum authorised mass. This is the maximum load that can be carried on the road, including the car’s own weight.

Because electric vans are heavier than their petrol or diesel counterparts, the Government is now working towards introducing a higher maximum weight limit for electric vans of 4,250kg. It is seeking a derogation from the European Commission to change the maximum allowed weight.

However, at full payloads, the electric vans will suffer from reduced range. If you can, try and test drive the van with a full payload to see whether its right for your business.

Finally, think about where you will be able to charge an electric van. Are the vehicles kept at home overnight, or at a depot? Will you have access to an electric charging station overnight? It makes little sense to have an electric van if it isn’t topped up in the morning ready for a day’s work.

Benefits of purchasing an electric van

There are several benefits of going electric. The first is lower running costs. A 3kW home charger will fully charge a Nissan e-NV200 for £5.60 – a full tank of diesel for the NV200 van would cost £74.

Electric vehicles also have fewer moving parts so running costs will be lower.

You will also benefit from the Government’s plug-in car grant that pays 20% of the purchase price for qualifying vehicles, up to a maximum of £8,000.

Electric vans also face no vehicle excise duty (VED), and are congestion charge exempt.