Should you buy a used electric van?

Electric vans are proving to be the right choice for many businesses. Read on to find out if they suit your needs

In the market for a used electric van? You won’t be alone as there are many buyers looking to move away from diesel and petrol vans into electric ones, and who don’t want to pay over the odds for a new one.

Buying a used electric van is no different to buying a used electric car, which isn’t that different from buying any used vehicle. As with all used vehicle purchases, there are some steps to make sure you’re buying the right one.

Make sure a used electric van suits your needs

If you’re using the van for business and trade purposes, think about the type of driving you’ll regularly be doing. Are you often on the motorway, or are you more likely to be based in towns with frequent access to public charging. If you’re travelling up and down the county, doing many miles a day, an electric van may not be the ideal solution.

If you are in a town or a city, doing a limited number of miles a day with lots of access to public or private electric vehicle charging, then an electric van will likely help you save on your running costs.

Usual prechecks

As with any used vehicle, check its overall condition. Inspect the bodywork closely, check the tyre condition and that all of the electronics onboard work. Then go over the service history of the van, and if applicable, it’s MoT history. Any advisories or missed services should be questioned.

Battery capacity and lease options

The big concern with electric cars and vans is whether the batteries onboard can still hold a full charge efficiently. All batteries degrade over time, and the lithium-ion ones in electric vehicles are no different. Ideally, you’d be able to test drive the van with a full charge and keep an eye on the range left in the battery to determine whether it’s holding charge efficiently.

It’s also important to determine whether the van in question has a battery lease or not. A battery lease is a separate lease on the battery of the vehicle. What this means is that you will have to purchase both the van and the lease if you wish to drive it.

The benefit of a battery lease is that while you incur an added expense each month (think around £49), you will have the piece of mind that if the battery’s condition deteriorates significantly, the manufacturer will replace it free of charge. Typically batteries are replaced when it fails to operate below 70 per cent of its capacity.

Also pay attention to the battery warranty. Manufacturers supply different length warranties on their batteries, and it’s always worth purchasing one with a warranty still intact.