Electric Vans – More than just cargo carriers, they could be part of the grid too!
Up until recently, electric vans have been well…. not very good.
They’ve been great for local businesses that just wanted to make local deliveries on a small scale, but beyond that they just weren’t practical.
Limited by small battery capacities and slow re charging, they were too limited to make sense for business users who carried more, further and more often.
Roll forward a few years and things have finally started to change with news from Tesla about their Truck range, Rivian announcing their Amazon delivery vans and other companies like Arrival and LEVC announcing their new ground up designed delivery vans too.
But that’s not all.
While more modern EV companies like those listed above have made their new EV announcements in the commercial sectors, so too have the regular vehicle manufacturers with their new ranges. The difference here being these are mostly existing vans that have had their Internal Combustion Engines (ICE’s) replaced with Electric motors and batteries.
It looks like 2021 will be the year of the electric van, so lets take a look at why Commercial EV’s could be great for your needs and then take a look at what’s available now and due in the not too distant future in UK & Worldwide showrooms.
What makes Electric Vans a good idea?
- Lower Daily Running Costs
Electric vans are considerably cheaper to run than diesel alternatives simply because the cost of electricity per mile is much lower than Diesel and Petrol, and with some free charging locations and offers available, these costs can almost be cut out completely for some.
This, as with many of those listed below is a two fold benefit as it can also make your quotes for work more attractive to potential clients too.
2. Cheaper Maintenance Costs
With fewer moving parts, EV’s require much less maintenance than their ICE counterparts, and while recapturing energy under braking they even reduce brake wear reducing those costs for high mile users too.
3. Easier to drive
EV’s being motor driven improve the driving experience too. With motors providing instant Torque, no gears to work through and regenerative breaking, EV’s provide a relaxed driving experience whether your driving local routes in traffic or longer routes on the Highways.
4. Environmental Benefits
Less waste overall. No Oil replacements, No burning of Fossil Fuels, Less waste when manufactured & scrapped, Less consumables (and therefor waste) to keep them running, Zero Tailpipe emissions, Vehicle longevity (require scrapped less often due to MOT failures) and No noise pollution.
5. Image Boosting
No matter whether you have a single electric van or a whole fleet, your choice demonstrates to your customers that you have an environmental conscience and could make the difference between you being hired over a less environmentally conscious business.
6. Business Incentives & other EV Benefits
In the UK these include the Government Plug-in Van Grant, which is worth up to 20% off the list price (up to a maximum of £8,000), plus reduced tax burdens for both business and private use.
There are even grants towards the cost of Workplace and Home chargers.
The Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme (EVHS) provides grant funding of up to 75% towards the cost of installing electric vehicle chargepoints at domestic properties across the UK.
The Workplace Charging Scheme (WCS) is a voucher-based scheme that provides support towards the up-front costs of the purchase and installation of electric vehicle charge-points, for eligible businesses, charities and public sector organisations.
Workplaces can apply for vouchers using the Workplace Charging Scheme application form here.
Other examples of benefits range from free parking in some areas, exemption from Ultra Low Emission Zones (ULEZ’s) charges and even free charging sometimes offered by the vehicle manufacture, as well as local charging points and other schemes.
With less moving parts and over the air the updates, EV’s are also not only less likely to break down in the first place, but they’re also proving quicker to be repaired, meaning less down time for business owners.
8. Standing benefits
While ICE vehicles are parked at depots, work facilities or at homes around the world, they’re just sitting waiting for the next shift, or working day to break before they become useful again.
But thats not the same for EV’s. EV’s can be useful in many ways during their downtime, for example the following concepts have already been designed and are either ready to use or are going through final tests.
a. Small Business benefits
On a local scale with a tradesperson pulling in at home and parking up for the night, their van could be useful in many ways.
Firstly they could use the leftover charge in the van as a power source for their home at a time when most power is consumed.
Secondly leftover power stored at the end of the working day could be resold to the grid.
Thirdly the van could act as a backup battery for any additional power generated through home solar or other renewable sources.
Fourthly EV’s could be used as a storage system for the National grid with owners earning from stored power.
No matter what they do while sitting idle, these vehicles could then be charged up ready for work the next day when power is at it’s cheapest a few hours before the new day begins.
b. On a larger Business scale
These concepts basically work in the same way for larger business uses too. As larger firms EV fleets arrive back at their depots,warehouses and factories their total storage capacity becomes extremely useful, as do any reserves of power that can be put to good use too.
Again with this scenario Vans that were out delivering all day can release remaining power for use at their base or to sell back to the grid. For manufacturers or warehouses this could either reduce costs during later hours or become an additional income by selling power back to the grid at a profit. (Charge cheep, sell or use power at higher rates.)
As with smaller businesses, larger firms who also opt to produce their own power with renewables can also utilise their EV fleets as additional battery storage for use as and when they or the National Grid require more power or during those non peak power generating times.
Firms like Amazon have already done the costings on this side and its been a massive part of their decision to place an initial order of 100,000 Rivian delivery trucks to add to their US fleet. UPS have also entered this market by co developing fleet vans with Arrival to be used across the UK & Europe with an initial order of 10,000 and another 10,000 to follow soon after.
9. Working Life
As I mentioned in points 2 & 7, the maintenance and repair costs are far lower due to less moving parts, but that’s not all, with less moving parts there’s less to go wrong as these vehicles age, so these vehicles if looked after will last longer too, which could mean longer leases and cheaper long term ownership.
A fully installed home charging point costs from £449 with the Government OLEV grant.
Electric car drivers benefit from a £350 OLEV Grant for purchasing and installing a home charger.
Once installed, you only pay for the electricity you use to charge.
The typical electricity rate in the UK is just over 14p per kWh, while on Economy 7 tariffs the typical overnight electricity rate in the UK is 8p per kWh. More Info HERE
Workplace charge points can be leased from around £40 per month on a 36 month lease, or alternatively Purchased outright.
The OLEV Workplace Charging Scheme (WCS), can reduce the cost of Workplace chargepoints by up to £14,000 with the government WCS grant.
The WCS Grant is capped at £350 per socket, with up to 40 sockets allowed.
WCS Grant Eligibility checklist:
Can be claimed by any business, charity or public authority (back claiming is not possible).
You must have off street parking & be able to outline a business need for electric vehicle chargepoints.
Your chargepoints must be installed by an OLEV-approved installer (like Pod Point).
You must apply for a digital voucher and present it to your chosen installer.
It’s simple really, with Government grants to aid Buying EV’s and Installing charge points, and all the benefits listed above, this isn’t a hard decision. Yes E Vans might come with a higher price / lease price, but the running costs are tiny in comparison, just look at your monthly Fuel Costs alone and add them to the monthly price of running a ICE vehicle, now how do those prices look?
The decision really, is which E Van works best for your business and when is the best time for you to swap?
So now we know EV’s make sense, what’s available and how much could it cost?
Lets start with the regular manufacturers offerings (Feb 2021 onwards) and then move to look at the newer EV only manufacturers.
Stellantis Group – Vauxhall / Opel / Peugeot / Citroen + Toyota which partners with the PSA Group in the commercial van segment.
Renault – click here for more info
Nissan – click here for more info
Fiat – click here for more info
Ford – click here for more info
Maxus (Formerly LDV) – click here for more info
Iveco – click her for more info
Mercedes – click here for more info
Toyota – click here for more info
Small / Compact Electric Vans are perfect for town and city use, they’re great for nipping around tight streets, avoiding Low Emission Zone costs and being extremely cheap to run, and while they may be small, you’ll be surprised how much you can squeeze into them.
Stellantis Group Citroen Berlingo / Peugeot Partner / Vauxhall Combo & Toyota Proace City models
All of these PSA derived small electric vans will come with a 50kWh Battery and a Top Speed of around 84mph, with an expected range of around 171 miles
0 – 100% Re Charge Times are expected to be around 7.5 hrs with the standard 7.4kW charger, 5 hrs with the Optional 11 kW charger or you can achieve 0 – 80% in around 30mins using the 100kW DC fast charging stations at public charge points.
Usable space is quoted around 3.8 m³ in the SWB models with LWB models around 4.4 m³ and the height has also been kept to less than 1.90 m, guaranteeing access to most car parks too.
Payloads are expected to be 800kg with a towing capacity of around 750kg
These vehicles will also come with three driving modes:
Eco (60 kW, 190 Nm): promotes driving range and a smooth drive,
Normal (80 kW, 210 Nm): optimal for everyday use
Power (100 kW, 260 Nm): optimises performance when transporting heavy loads.
First UK orders are expected to be taken in April 2021 with first deliveries expected to arrive between October and December 2021.
PRICE £ TBA (August 2021)
Citroen E Berlingo Vauxhall Combo E Cargo Peugeot Partner E & Toyota Proace City
Small Vans – Renault
Renault Zoe Van
The Renault Zoe Van will come with a 52kWh Battery with an expected range of around 245 miles.
0 – 100% Re Charge Times with the standard so-called Chameleon charger which can adapt between 3kW to 22kW supplies are expected to be around 6 hours using your installed Wallbox or public charging station. A standard domestic 240V socket will take around 11 hours to fully charge. Select the fast charging 50kW option (£700) and you’ll get an 80% charge in just 70 minutes or up-to 90 miles of range in around 30.
A 7kW charging station, will also provide up-to 25 miles of driving range in about an hour.
Usable space is quoted around 0.51m3 and car park access is clearly no issue with this little van and city parking should be a breeze too.
Payload is currently around 387kg
There’s no towing capacity with these vans.
PRICE £24,912 *Retail price after VAT and PiVG
Renault Finance Contract Hire (Includes a wall charger) £174.00 – £184.00 + VAT 24 months
Renault Kangoo Z.E
The Renault Kangoo Z.E will come with a 33kWh Battery and a Top Speed of around 81mph, with an expected real world range of around 124 miles.
0 – 100% Re Charge Times are expected to be around 6 – 9 hrs with the upgraded single phase 7kW fast charger. You can also recharge 20 miles of driving range in 1hr depending on the power provided by your installed Wallbox. While a standard domestic 240V socket will recharge 25 km of driving range in 3 hours or fully charge in 10 to 12 hours.
Usable space is quoted around 3.5 m³ in the SWB models with LWB models around 4.6 m³ and the height has also been kept to less than 1.90 m, guaranteeing access to most car parks too.
The ZE is available as a standard-length van, the Maxi long-wheelbase or the crew van variant with room for up to five people.
Payloads are expected to be 605 – 640 kg with a towing capacity of around 374 kg.
PRICE £24,480 *Retail price after VAT and PiVG
Renault Finance Contract Hire (Includes a wall charger) £165.00 – £175.00 + VAT 24 months
Small Vans – Nissan
Nissan’s e-NV200 will come with a 40kWh Battery and a Top Speed of around 76mph, with an expected real world range of around 106 miles.
0 – 100% Re Charge Times are expected to be around 8 hrs with the standard 7kW charger or 4 hrs with a fast charger. Rapid charge on the move and expect 20%-80% in just 40-60 minutes
Usable space is quoted to be around 4.2 m³ and the height has also been kept to less than 1.90 m, guaranteeing access to most car parks too.
The e-NV200 is available in a single standard-length with options for carrying 2 people with a load capacity of 4.2m³, or 5 people with a load capacity of 1.9m³ or finally 7 people with space for luggage only.
Payloads are expected to be 705 kg with a towing capacity of around 410 kg.
PRICE £20,005 – £22,665 *Retail price after VAT and PiVG
Nissan Finance Contract Hire £199.00 – £245.00 + VAT 24 months
Maxus e Deliver 3
The Maxus e Deliver3 will come with a 35kWh Battery or a 52.5kWh battery both with a listed Top Speed of 120mph, and expected ranges of around 130 – 197 miles respectively.
This van actually crosses over the line between small and medium vans once you switch to the LWB version, which is why its the last in our small eVan list.
0 – 100% Re Charge Times are expected to be around 6 – 8 hrs depending on your chosen battery with fast charging to 80% taking around 45 minutes.
Usable space is quoted around 4.8 m³ in the SWB models with LWB models around 6.3 m³ and the height has also been kept to less than 1.90 m, guaranteeing access to most car parks too.
Payloads are expected to be 865 – 905 kg with the SWB models and 1020 – 990 kg with the LWB models and the Towing capacity is around 500 kg across all sizes.
PRICE £22,800 excluding VAT, but including the Government’s £3,000 plug-in vehicle grant
Finance Contract Hire TBC
Medium Electric Vans are perfect for everything. Mostly used by Trades People, you’ll also find weekend explorers and sports people using them too. With their extra space and flexibility, medium vans are the perfect mix.
Medium Vans – Citroen e-Dispatch / Peugeot e-Expert / Vauxhall Vivaro E & Toyota Proace
All of PSA Groups Medium Vans ( & Toyota’s Proace) will be based on the EMP2 multi-energy platform, and offered with two battery options:
- 230 km on the WLTP cycle fitted with a 50 kWh battery, made up of 18 modules
- 330 km on the WLTP cycle fitted with a 75 kWh battery, made up of 27 modules
- The electric motor (front-wheel drive) is 100 kW and 260 Nm, while the charging is up to 100 kW DC. The on-board charger can be 11 kW (three-phase) or 7.4 kW (single-phase).
With a maximum load length of 3.67m in the SWB and 4m in the LWB versions (using Flex Cargo) and 2.51m SWB – 2.86m LWB up to the bulkhead – along with a load volume of 4.6m3 – 6.6m3 and payload up to 1400kg (see individual details) these medium vans are extremely practical.
PRICE £24,000 – £46,000 **Excludes Plug in Van Grant of 20% off the purchase price up to a maximum of £8,000.
Finance Contract Hire TBC
Citroen e-Dispatch / Peugeot e-Expert / Vauxhall Vivaro E & Toyota Proace
Medium Vans – Volkswagen e Transporter (Made by ABT)
The VW e Transporter will come with a 83kWh Battery and a Top Speed of around 81mph, with an expected range of around 82 miles.
Conventional alternating current (AC) chargers will recharge an electric vehicle overnight. However a direct current (DC) charger works much faster. With power up to 50kW at their disposal, a DC charger can bring the ABT e-Transporter 6.1 from 0-80% in as little as 45 minutes5. If charging at home, a wallbox provides you with up to 55% approximately higher charging performance and consequently shorter charging time than a normal domestic mains socket. With help from a Government grant, you can get up to 75% off the total costs of installing the wallbox, along with any other associated installation costs (capped at £350 incl. VAT).
Usable space is quoted around 4.4m³ in the Kombi models with LWB models around 6.7m³ and the height has also been kept to 1.90 m, guaranteeing access to most car parks too.
The e Transporter is available as a long-wheelbase or kombi crew van variant.
Payloads are expected to be 900 – 996 kg with a towing capacity of around 750 kg.
PRICE £42,060 – £49,985 *EXCLUDING VAT and PiVG
Prices start at £42,060 for the basic panel van, with a new Advance specification, unique to the e-Transporter electric van (and named to match the trim level used by VW’s electrified car range), which adds a load of extra equipment and costs from £43,360.
If you want a kombi crew van you’re looking at £46,375 for the standard model, £49,985 for the Advance. All prices exclude VAT.
VW Finance Contract Hire from £219.00 + VAT 24 months 10,000 mile per annum non-maintained Contract Hire agreement
Medium Vans – Mercedes-Benz eVito
The Mercedes-Benz eVito will come with a 85kWh Battery and a Top Limited Speed of around 75mph, with an expected range of around 93 miles.
A major drawback, comes from the lack of support of any rapid charging (only 7kw) and as a result the relatively small 41kWh battery will still take more than six hours to fully charge. One bonus with the E Vito is the free home smart charge point.
Usable space is quoted around 6.0m³ and the height 1.91 m, guaranteeing access to most car parks too.
Payloads are expected to be 890 – 905 kg and there’s currently no towing capacity showing.
PRICE £40,895 – £42,120 *EXCLUDING VAT and PiVG
Prices start at £40,895 for the basic panel van with higher pricing for higher specs and van lengths.
Mercedes Finance Contract Hire from £361.00 + VAT 48 months 10,000 mile per annum non-maintained Contract Hire agreement
Full Sized Electric Vans are the biggest vans available and offer the most amount of space for hauling loads. Until recently, most current ICE vehicle manufacturers have left electrifying Large vans, mainly due to battery technology not lending itself to their requirements (bulk carrying capacity & range requirements). However with new battery and charging technology improvements, it looks like 2021 – 2022 will see many of these manufacturers releasing their Large Electric van ranges.
Large Vans – New electric Ford E-Transit (Available 2022)
The New Ford E-Transit will come with a usable 67kWh Battery with an expected range of around 217 miles, although some sources suggest 108 – 126 miles are to be expected. Real life use figures will obviously be more precise once these vans are available for testing. Power comes from a single 266bhp electric motor driving the rear wheels.
The E-Transit also features both AC and DC fast charging with an 11.3kW on-board charger allowing a slow charge in just over eight hours, while DC charging rates of up to 115kW enables a 15% to 80% charge in around 34 minutes. Customers are also given access to the Ford Pass charging network, with around 160,000 chargers globally – many with rapid-charge facilities. The E-Transit can also be used as a mobile power point for tools, providing up to 2.3kW for external equipment, which will prove extremely useful for many trades and businesses.
Usable space is quoted at around 9.5m³ – 15.1m³ with the payload rating up to 1616kg for the van model or 1967kg for the chassis cab variants. Different length height and mass options are available up to a gross vehicle mass of 4.25 tonnes.
Towing capacity for the E Transit is yet to be announced..
PRICE £26,725 plus *EXCLUDING VAT and PiVG
Finance & Contract Hire Prices to be announced once the E Transit is released.
Large Vans – New Renault Master ZE (Available Now)
The Renault Master ZE will come with a usable 33kWh Battery with an expected range of around 124 miles, although some sources suggest 74miles are to be expected. Power comes from a single 76bhp electric motor.
The Master ZE’s 33kWh pack takes a full charge from a 32-amp power supply in 6 hrs. Rapid-charging the Master ZE still isn’t available as yet so this is something to take into account, however if you plan on charging from a home or commercial premises overnight and your daily journeys are within their ranges, then this shouldn’t be an issue. Speed is limited to a maximum of 62mph with the Master ZE, however you can set this to 50mph if you want to squeeze more range from your van. If you’d like to know more about the Master ZE range, you can use Renaults driving range calculator to see how their vehicles could perform for your needs here.
Payload for the Master ZE is still a respectable 1100kg at its maximum, and load volumes remain unchanged when compared with the standard Renault Master. Buyers can choose from a range of vehicles offering 8m³ – 13m³ of carrying capacity. As well as panel vans, there are two platform cab versions of different lengths, with a maximum payload of 1370kg, that are suitable for high-capacity body conversion to transport up to 19m³.
Towing capacity for the Renault Master ZE is yet to be announced..
PRICES from £26,725 *EXCLUDING VAT and PiVG
Finance & Contract Hire Prices are from £715 per month
Large Vans – Mercedes eSprinter (Available Now)
The Mercedes eSprinter will come with a usable 85kWh Battery with an expected range of around 83 – 96 miles, although some sources suggest around 72 miles are to be expected. Power comes from a single 114bhp electric motor driving the front wheels.
Charging time for the eSprinter’s depends on which battery pack you choose and the type of charger you are using. A standard model can take a 20kW charge, under which 80% charge can be added in less than two hours. However, on a standard wallbox with a domestic power supply you’d be looking at an eight-hour charge for the 55kWh battery and six hours for the smaller 41kWh battery. Rapid charging is supported as an option, adding an 80kW charging capability that allows an 80% charge to be added in just 30 minutes.
Unlike other Sprinters, the eSprinter comes in just one size, with a medium-length body and a high roof (L2 H2). Payload for the Mercedes eSprinter is 1045kg at its maximum, with a load volume of 11m³ of carrying capacity.
Towing capacity for the Mercedes eSprinter is currently showing as 0.
PRICES from £51,950 *EXCLUDING VAT and PiVG
Finance & Contract Hire Prices are from £795.00 per month
New Ground Up Electric Vans are coming with some names you might recognise and some you might not. Unlike traditional ICE manufacturers vans that swap out their existing fossil fuelled models Engines, Gearboxes and other none EV essential kit to make way to retro fit Electric Motors and Batteries, Ground Up electric vehicle manufacturers start with a totally new design and build their vehicles in a way that takes advantage of best placement for the motors and batteries.
Electric ONLY Vans – Arrival Van (Available Summer 2021)
The Arrival Van is designed from the ground up, and can be tailored precisely to individual routes and specific uses – with different heights, lengths and battery capacities available. It’s internal cargo bay is optimised to efficiently carry the most volume and payload on the smallest vehicle footprint possible.
Constructed from a hybrid of aluminium frame and thermoplastic-composite panels, the Arrival Van is much lighter than it’s stamped metal counterparts and It’s body shell is also much more durable and resilient to damage, minimising the need for repairs and ensuring the vehicle is on the road for longer.
Depending on your requirements and options chosen, the Arrival Van can be selected with a 44kWh – 133kWh Battery, and either Front Wheel Drive or All Wheel Drive variants with expected ranges of up to 215 miles. We’ll have to wait until these vans are tested in their differing formats to give precise expected real world ranges.
At the time of writing this article we didn’t have access to the motor configuration of Arrival’s Van.
Charging time for the Arrival Van depends on which battery pack you choose and the type of charger you are using. More information on these figures is due to be released shortly.
Thanks to their skateboard design and V2 model changes, Arrival’s Van now comes in multiple configurations, with a Low Roof short length (H1L1) option on the smaller scale, right up to a Hight Roof Longest Length (H3 L4) and even Chassis Van option.
Towing capacity is still to be announced.
PRICES are still to be announced, however Arrival have said they want their vehicles to be competitive in price to Internal Combustion Engine Van prices, so keep watching this space.
Finance & Contract Hire Prices are from £TBC per month
Electric ONLY Vans – CANOO MPDV (Available Summer 2023)
The CANOO Multi Purpose Delivery Vehicle (MPDV) is yet another designed from the ground up electric vehicle. As with other Ground Up designs, the Canoo MPDV has been created with multiple design features and options for a wide variety of uses – with different heights, lengths and battery capacities available as well as optional features.
The MPDV internal cargo bay offers 30 percent more parcel volume than other current leading delivery vehicles. Canoo is gearing up to launch two models—the 92-square-foot MPDV1 at 6.2 ft tall with 230 cubic feet of cargo volume, and the 123-square-foot MPDV2 at 8.4 ft tall with 500 cubic feet and payloads expected to be between 598 – 898 kgs.
Depending on your requirements and options chosen, the MPDV can be selected with a 20kWh – 80kWh Battery, and either Front Wheel Drive or All Wheel Drive variants with either single or twin motor configurations and expected ranges of up to 90-230 miles. We’ll have to wait until these vans are tested in their differing formats to give precise expected real world ranges.
Thanks to their skateboard design Canoo’s new MPDV Van will come in multiple configurations, with a Low Roof short length options, right up to a High Roof Longest Length options with other vehicles based around their chassis too including a Pickup and Adventure Vehicle.
Towing capacity is still to be announced.
PRICES announced from £23,700 *EXCLUDING VAT and PiVG
Finance & Contract Hire Prices are TBC per month
Electric ONLY Vans – Bollinger Deliver-E (Available 2022 – 2023)
The Bollinger Deliver-E also comes from the ground up electric vehicle stable, and as with other Ground Up designs has been created with multiple design features and options for a wide variety of uses.
Multiple battery sizes will be offered, starting from the smallest at 70 kWh, running through 105, 140, and 175, and topping out at a huge 210 kWh all providing power to the front wheel drive system and all of which will be interchangeable with different wheelbase lengths, heights, and interior options. Charging is said to be provided by an up To 100 kW DC Fast Charge system.
All variations will come with a super-low 18-inch floor height for easier loading and construction will come in the form of a high-strength steel frame, with Bollinger targeting 10 years of durability. The existing motors, battery, inverters, and gearboxes from their B1 and B2 Pickup trucks will also be used, to keep development costs down.
Bollinger, won’t be building the DELIVER-E themselves though, saying they intend to work with a manufacturing partner instead, to produce their electric vans and trucks, so we’ll be keeping an eye open for updates.
Interior spaces / dimensions are yet to be announced, but it’s clear from their images and information trickling out that as with the other vans in this category there will be multiple lengths and heights available.
Towing capacity is still to be announced.
PRICES announced from £TBC expected lower than ICE options *EXCLUDING VAT and PiVG
Finance & Contract Hire Prices are TBC per month
Source medium Vans, Source Amazon Vans, Source UPS Arrival vans,
Source Tesla Semi, Source Arrival Vans, Source LEVC vans, Source Vanorama, Source What Car, Source Stellantis, Source Bollinger deliver-e