Electric vans: Will they work for your UK business?
The price and running costs of electric vehicles has dropped due to drivers becoming more environmentally conscious. Electric vans have also increased in popularity here in the UK and the market is expected to grow.
There are good reasons why many UK businesses are switching from diesels to environment-friendly electric vans. We don’t have to go too far back in time to see why.
Back to the future: A brief history of electric vehicles
Surprisingly, electric vehicles were commonplace in the very early days of automotive industry.
In the US the first electric car debuted around 1890 and topped out at 14 miles per hour.
By the 1900s, cars powered by steam and gasoline replaced horses as the preferred mode of transportation.
These steam operated cars had limited range and took a while for the water to heat up. During this time, electric cars were more popular than gasoline-powered, which were considered too noisy and smoky.
Inventor Thomas Edison championed the design of an electric car alongside Ford in 1914 and the industry was progressing. This progress was hindered for many decades by the fact that the gasoline-run cars were cheaper to mass produce. And of course it helped that this fuel was cheap and readily available.
By 1935 it seemed the electric car had been forgotten. This was until gasoline shortages 30 years later, which led to a renewed interest in using electricity once again.
By the 1990s, a new emphasis on the impact of fossil fuels on the environment revived the idea of the electric car as a viable alternative.
But it was only a few years ago that investment in an eco-friendly energy alternative become a big focus.
Have electric van prices fallen far enough?
The UK government is committed to increasing the percentage of electric cars on the roads by 2020.
In the meantime, electric vehicles are gradually coming down in price, which makes it more practical for electric vans to become the vehicle of choice for many businesses.
Batteries for electric vans can be expensive, but you can chose to rent them for a monthly fee rather than buying outright.
Does a battery-powered van deliver?
Driving a battery-powered van leads to minimal noise pollution, making them ideal for early morning deliveries.
The emissions are, of course, much cleaner. The Transport for London website reveals that an electric van is exempt from the emissions charge. This means more saving for those who live or work in the capital.
One of the drawbacks is the average 8-hour charge time, but that’s manageable if you can time it so your vehicle charges overnight.
The government is even willing to pay 20% of an electric van’s value.
One of the setbacks of electric vehicles is they depreciate fairly rapidly. But this could well mean you could also secure a second hand model at a low price before they rise in popularity.
Finding the best electric van for your business
Finding the best electric van for your business is very much like finding any other van.
You will need to consider the initial expense and its running costs, how you will use the van, its storage capacity and safety features.
There are a range of different electric vans on the market. Here are just some of the ones to look for:
Small electric vans
At the moment there’s no electric equivalent to the Ford Transit or Volkswagen Transporter.
But there is a fair amount of choice when it comes to selecting a small electric van. Nissan, Renault and Mercedes all make vans suitable for small loads. There’s even a single-seater on the market.
Electric passenger vans
Electric passenger vans are ideal if transporting your team is more important than carrying large amounts of cargo.
The Nissan e-NV200 Combi provides a good balance, comfortable modular seating and room or luggage. There’s even an office area at the front of the van that includes a desk space.
Electric cargo vans
Electric cargo vans offer a decent amount do carrying ability with flexible interiors that allow you to configure storage to need your needs.
Additions such as a roof rack will add to the capacity of these vehicles.
Other eco-friendly options
Businesses everywhere are keen to make use of eco-friendly commercial transport alternatives.
Beyond electric vehicles other eco-friendly options that might spark your interest include companies that use carbon-neutral cars that offset their carbon emissions through the Carbon Neutral Company. Some delivery trucks now use waste-vegetable and bio fuel on a dual-tank system.
There’s plenty of eco-friendly choice to help your business become more environmentally friendly and cost effective. Whatever type of vehicle you choose, having the right van insurance policy is still important. So make sure you’ve got the right cover to meet your business’s needs.