• Electric Van FAQs - Common Questions About Electric Commercial Vehicles
  • Electric Van FAQs - Common Questions About Electric Commercial Vehicles

Electric Van FAQs - Common Questions About Electric Commercial Vehicles

We answer your most frequently asked questions about the world of electric vans

As the UK moves towards a greener future of travel, electric commercial vehicles are becoming an increasingly popular choice for businesses large or small. Electric vans have gained significant interest due to their versatility and potential to reduce carbon emissions. However, with this relatively new technology comes a host of questions from curious drivers and company owners.

In this article, we'll dive into the most frequently asked questions about electric vans, providing you with the information you need to make informed decisions. From driving range and charging times to payload capacities and running costs, we'll cover all the essential aspects that would-be EV drivers are eager to understand. 

Whether you're considering making the switch to an electric van or simply want to stay informed about the latest developments in battery-powered technology, this guide will provide you with the answers you seek. Read on to find out more… 

Top 20 Electric Van FAQs

To help you navigate the world of electric commercial vehicles, we've compiled a list of the top 20 electric van FAQs. These questions cover a wide range of topics, from basic concerns about range and charging to more specific queries about payload capacities and government incentives. So, let’s get started:

What are the advantages of an electric van?

Electric vans offer several advantages over their diesel or petrol counterparts, making them an attractive choice. Some of the key advantages include:

  • Lower running costs - Electric vans are cheaper to run than diesel or petrol vans, as electricity is less expensive than fuel. 
  • Reduced emissions - Electric vans produce zero tailpipe emissions, resulting in cleaner air and a lower carbon footprint. 
  • Lower maintenance costs - Electric vans have fewer moving parts than traditional vans, which means they require less maintenance.
  • Government incentives - There are various government incentives available for businesses and individuals switching to electric vehicles, such as grants and tax benefits. 
  • Improved driving experience - Electric vans offer instant torque, providing smooth and responsive acceleration, which can be particularly beneficial in stop-and-start city driving.
  • Regenerative braking - Most electric vans feature regenerative braking systems, which means the battery recharges when slowing down.  

What is the range of electric commercial vehicles?

Range anxiety is a common concern, and drivers want to know how far they can travel on a single charge. The driving distance of an electric vehicle varies depending on the specific model, battery size, and driving conditions. 

Small electric vans, such as the Renault Kangoo E-Tech, typically have a driving range of around 160 to 190 miles on a single charge. 

Medium electric vans, such as the Peugeot e-Expert, generally have a driving range between 140 to 220 miles per full charge depending on the size of the battery. 

Large electric vans, such as the Maxus eDeliver 9 tend to have a driving range from 140 up to 230 miles.

It's important to note that the ranges quoted by manufacturers are based on ideal conditions and can be affected by factors such as payload, driving style, weather, and the use of onboard equipment like heating or air conditioning. Read our electric van range guide to find out more. 

How long does it take to charge an electric van?

Charging times are an important factor to consider when choosing an electric vehicle. However, the charging time for an electric van depends on several factors, including the size of the battery, the type of charger being used, and the charging speed supported by the vehicle. 

To give you a better idea of what to expect when it comes to EV charging times, here’s a general overview: 

Slow Charging (3kW)

This is the slowest charging option available that typically uses a standard three-pin plug (found in homes and businesses). It can take anywhere from 8 to 12 hours to fully charge an electric van, depending on the battery size, so this method is best suited for overnight charging.

Fast Charging (7kW-22kW)

Fast chargers are more common at public charging stations and can significantly reduce charging times. A 7kW charger can typically charge an electric van in 4 to 8 hours, while a 22kW charger can result in a full battery charge in just 2 to 4 hours.

Rapid Charging (43kW-100kW)

Rapid chargers are the fastest option that is publicly available and can usually be found at dedicated charging stations around the country. These chargers can provide an 80% charge in around 30-60 minutes, depending on the battery size and the charger's power output.

Ultra-Rapid Charging (150kW+)

Some newer electric vans are compatible with ultra-rapid chargers, which can deliver even faster charging times. For example, an ultra-rapid charger can provide an 80% charge in as little as 20-30 minutes for compatible vehicles.

Most electric vans support different charging speeds, so it's essential to consider the charging options available in your area and the vehicle's compatibility with those chargers.

What is the cost of running an electric van compared to a diesel one?

A question we get asked a lot here at Loads of Vans is how the running cost of an electric van compares to a petrol or diesel version. Because electricity is cheaper than fuel, the cost per mile for an electric van is significantly lower. In the UK, the average cost per mile for an electric van is approximately 3 to 5 pence, while for a diesel van, it's around 10 to 14 pence per mile.

In terms of maintenance costs, electric vans have fewer moving parts compared to diesel vans, which means they require less maintenance. This can lead to lower servicing costs and reduced downtime. Regular expenses like oil changes and emissions checks are also eliminated with electric vans.

EV owners can take advantage of the tax benefits too; in the UK, electric vans are exempt from vehicle excise duty (road tax) and are also eligible for a 100% discount on the London Congestion Charge and Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ). 

Despite the higher initial outlay cost to purchase an electric van, the lower running costs and potential tax benefits can make EVs a more cost-effective choice in the long run, especially for businesses with high mileage requirements or those operating in urban areas with emissions restrictions.

For more detailed information on the costs of running an electric van, read our dedicated guide on how much you can expect to pay each year. 

Are there enough charging points available for electric commercial vehicles in the UK?

The availability of charging points for electric commercial vehicles in the UK has been steadily increasing in recent years, but there is still room for improvement to support the growing adoption of electric vans.

In 2024, there are over 50,000 public charging points available across the country, with more being installed regularly. This includes a mix of slow, fast, rapid, and ultra-rapid chargers. Many of these charging points are located in urban areas, motorway service stations, and other key locations to support the needs of commercial vehicle operators, whereas some rural areas may have fewer options available. 

The Government has recognised the need to expand the UK’s charging infrastructure and has introduced several initiatives to support this growth, including; the Workplace Charging Scheme (WCS), On-Street Residential Charging Scheme (ORCS), and the Rapid Charging Fund. The image below, courtesy of Zap Map, demonstrates the amount of charging points in the UK per region:

What are the payload capacities of electric vans?

Understanding the payload capacity of an electric van is crucial, as it directly impacts the vehicle's performance, safety, and efficiency. Drivers need to know if electric vehicles can meet their specific job requirements and load capacities. Electric vans have heavy battery packs, so the available payload is marginally reduced compared to those with traditional combustion engines. 

To give you a better understanding of the payload capacities for different types of electric vans, we’ve outlined the average payload for small, medium, and large size electric commercial vehicles in the table below:

Size of Electric VanPayload Capacity RangeExample Models
Small600kg to 975kgRenault Kangoo E-Tech and Nissan Townstar Electric
Medium1,000kg to 1,400kgPeugeot e-Expert and Fiat Scudo
Large1,200kg to 1,950kgMaxus eDeliver 9 and Fiat E-Ducato

Our Van Payloads Guide is an excellent reference point when it comes to learning how much weight a van can legally carry. 

Can electric vans tow?

Yes, many electric vans are capable of towing, although the towing capacity may vary depending on the specific model and configuration of the van. As with the payload capacity of electric vans, the towing capacity of battery-powered vehicles is also reduced compared to conventional vans. 

Battery weight is a big factor in determining the amount of weight an electric van can tow, but despite these limitations, many electric vans still offer sufficient towing capacities for a wide range of commercial applications. Generally, the larger the van is, the more weight it can tow.

For example, the large-size Fiat E-Ducato can tow up to 1,900kg of weight (depending on the specific model and battery configuration), whereas the diesel equivalent can tow up to 2,000kg of weight, so there’s not much in it in terms of comparison. 

How reliable are electric vans?

Electric vans are generally considered to be reliable, and in many cases, they can be more reliable than their diesel or petrol counterparts. Fewer moving parts in an EV mean there are lower maintenance requirements and less chance of things going wrong.

Battery longevity also adds to the reliability of electric vans as modern batteries are designed to last for many years, often with warranties covering 8 years or more. Let’s not forget the regenerative braking systems used in electric vans, as this can help extend the life of the braking components.

As with any vehicle, it's essential to follow the manufacturer's recommended maintenance schedule and to address any issues promptly to ensure the long-term reliability of an electric van.

Are there government incentives for switching to electric commercial vehicles?

A major appeal of owning an electric van is the availability of grants, tax benefits, and other incentives that can help offset the initial cost of purchasing electric vehicles. 

There are several Government incentives available for UK drivers and businesses switching to electric commercial vehicles. These incentives are designed to encourage the adoption of cleaner, low-emission vehicles, and include: 

Plug-in Van Grant (PiVG)

The Government offers a grant of up to £5,000 for the purchase of new electric vans that meet certain criteria. This grant is applied directly to the purchase price of the vehicle, reducing the upfront cost for businesses and individuals.

Workplace Charging Scheme (WCS)

Businesses can apply for vouchers worth up to £350 per socket to help cover the cost of installing electric vehicle charging points at their premises. This incentive supports the development of workplace charging infrastructure and makes it more convenient for businesses of all sizes to adopt electric vans.

EV Chargepoint Grant

Individuals who own or lease an electric van can claim a grant of up to £350 towards the cost of installing a home charging point. This incentive makes it easier for drivers to charge their vehicles overnight, ensuring they are ready for use during business hours.

Capital Allowances

Businesses can claim up to 100% of the cost of an electric van against their profits in the year of purchase, reducing their tax liability and improving cash flow.

Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) Exemption

Electric vans are exempt from paying Vehicle Excise Duty (road tax) in the UK, which can result in significant savings over the lifetime of the vehicle.

Congestion Charge and ULEZ Exemption

Electric vans are exempt from paying the London Congestion Charge, which can save businesses a significant amount of money if they operate regularly within the charging zone. The exemption also extends to the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) which now covers the capital city. 

Discover more by reading our Government Grants for Electric Vans article to explore the EV options available to van owners.  

What is the environmental impact of electric vans?

Some drivers are motivated by the potential to reduce their carbon footprint and contribute to cleaner air quality. Electric vans have a significantly lower environmental impact compared to their diesel or petrol counterparts, making them an important tool in the fight against climate change and air pollution. 

Battery-powered vans produce zero tailpipe emissions, which means they do not release harmful pollutants such as nitrogen oxides (NOx) and particulate matter (PM) into the atmosphere. This can help to improve air quality, particularly in urban areas where air pollution is a major concern.

While electric vans still have a carbon footprint associated with the electricity used to charge them, this is typically lower than the emissions produced by diesel or petrol vans. As the UK's electricity grid continues to decarbonise, the carbon footprint of electric vans will decrease further.

How do electric vans perform in different weather conditions?

Electric vans can perform well in a variety of weather conditions, but like all vehicles, they can be affected by extreme temperatures and adverse weather. Here's how electric vans typically perform in different weather conditions:

Cold Weather

Cold temperatures can reduce the range of an electric van, as the battery becomes less efficient in low temperatures. However, many electric vans come equipped with battery heating systems that help to maintain optimal battery temperature and minimise range loss. Cold weather can also impact regenerative braking, as the system may be less effective when the battery is cold.

Hot Weather

High temperatures can also affect electric van performance, although to a lesser extent than cold weather. The battery cooling system works harder in hot weather to maintain optimal battery temperature, which can slightly reduce range. However, this impact is generally less significant than the range loss experienced in cold weather.

Rain and Snow

Electric vans can handle rain and snow just as well as their diesel or petrol counterparts. The electric drivetrain provides instant torque, which can be beneficial for maintaining traction on slippery surfaces. However, as with any vehicle, it's important to adjust driving habits and maintain a safe distance from other vehicles in adverse weather conditions.

What are the servicing and maintenance requirements for electric vans?

Electric vans have different servicing and maintenance requirements compared to diesel or petrol vans, generally requiring less frequent and less intensive maintenance. 

The battery is the most critical component of an electric van, and it requires minimal maintenance. Most electric van batteries are designed to last for the lifetime of the vehicle, however, it's important to follow the manufacturer's guidelines for battery care, such as avoiding extreme temperatures and maintaining a moderate state of charge when the vehicle is not in use for extended periods.

Electric vans use regenerative braking, which helps to slow the vehicle down while recharging the battery. It’s important to understand that the brake fluid, pads, and discs still need to be checked and replaced as necessary, although typically at longer intervals than in diesel or petrol vans.

Many electric vans have advanced software systems that control various aspects of the vehicle's performance and functionality. Manufacturers often provide software updates to improve performance, efficiency, and safety, which can be installed during routine servicing or remotely in some cases.

In general, electric vans require less frequent servicing than diesel or petrol vans, with many manufacturers recommending service intervals of around 2 years or 20,000-30,000 miles. This can help to reduce downtime and maintenance costs for businesses operating electric van fleets.

Do drivers pay tax on electric vehicles?

Electric vans are exempt from paying Vehicle Excise Duty (also known as road tax) in the UK. This means that owners of electric vans do not need to pay the annual tax that applies to most other vehicles, saving potentially hundreds of pounds per year. 

If an electric van is used as a company vehicle, it is subject to Company Car Tax. However, the tax rate for electric vans is significantly lower than for diesel or petrol vans. For the 2024 tax year, the Company Car Tax rate for electric vans is 2%, compared to 27% or more for most diesel and petrol vans.

When an employee uses a company-provided electric van for personal use, it is considered a Benefit-in-Kind and is subject to BiK tax. The BiK tax rate for electric vans is currently set at 2%, which provides employees with a sizable subsidy. 

Businesses can reclaim 100% of the VAT on the purchase price of an electric van, as long as the vehicle is used solely for business purposes. If the van is used for both business and personal purposes, the VAT can be reclaimed proportionally based on the business use.

These tax advantages can significantly reduce the total cost of ownership for electric vans, making them an attractive option for businesses and individuals looking to save money and reduce their environmental impact.

What is the biggest challenge with electric vehicles?

While electric vans offer numerous benefits, there are still some challenges associated with ownership. One of the biggest challenges with electric vans is range anxiety, which refers to the fear that the vehicle's battery will run out of power before reaching the desired destination or a suitable charging point.

Although the range of electric vans has been steadily improving, they still typically offer a shorter range than their diesel or petrol counterparts. This can be a concern for businesses that require vehicles to cover long distances or operate in areas with limited charging infrastructure.

Recharging an electric van takes longer than refuelling a diesel or petrol van. Even with rapid charging, it can take 30 minutes or more to achieve an 80% charge, which can be a challenge for businesses that need to minimise downtime and keep their vehicles on the road.

Is insurance cheaper on electric vans?

Insurance for electric vans can be cheaper than for diesel or petrol vans in some cases, but this is not always guaranteed. The cost of insurance for an electric van depends on a range of factors, including the driver's age and experience, the vehicle's make and model, and the level of coverage required.

On the plus side where insurers are concerned, electric vans are often considered less attractive to thieves than their combustion engine counterparts, as they are less common and have fewer valuable parts that can be easily resold. 

Some insurers may even consider electric vans to be safer than diesel or petrol vans, as they generally have a lower center of gravity and more advanced safety features. Insurance providers that specialise in covering electric vehicles may offer more competitive rates or additional benefits compared to general insurers, so always do your homework first. 

Do electric vehicles hold their value?

Electric vans, like all vehicles, are subject to depreciation over time. However, the rate at which electric vans hold their value compared to diesel or petrol vans can vary depending on a range of factors.

As awareness of the benefits of electric vehicles grows and more businesses and individuals seek to reduce their environmental impact, demand for used electric vans may increase. This increased demand can help to support resale values.

Do electric vans lose range over time?

Electric vans can lose range over time due to battery degradation. This is a natural process that affects all rechargeable batteries, including those used in electric vehicles.

As an electric van's battery is charged over time, its capacity to store energy gradually decreases. This means that the battery will be able to hold less charge and provide less range over the years than when it was brand new. The rate of battery degradation can be influenced by several factors, including the number of charge cycles, the depth of discharge, exposure to extreme temperatures, and the age of the battery.

Most electric van manufacturers offer warranties that cover battery degradation up to a certain point. For example, a warranty might guarantee that the battery will retain at least 70% of its original capacity after 8 years or 100,000 miles. This provides some protection for owners against excessive range loss.

How long does an electric van battery last?

Most modern electric van batteries are designed to last for many years and many thousands of miles. With proper care and maintenance, an electric van battery can often last well beyond the warranty period. Many experts estimate that electric vehicle batteries can last for 10 to 20 years or more, depending on usage and other factors.

Many electric van manufacturers offer warranties that cover the battery for a specific period or mileage. For example, some warranties cover the battery for 8 years or 100,000 miles, whichever comes first. These warranties typically guarantee that the battery will retain a certain percentage of its original capacity (often 70% or more) during the coverage period.

Even after an electric van battery has reached the end of its useful life in the vehicle, it may still have significant capacity remaining. Many companies are exploring second-life applications for these batteries, such as using them for stationary energy storage in homes or businesses.

How much does it cost to replace the battery in an electric van?

The cost to replace the battery in an electric van can be substantial, as the battery is one of the most expensive components in the vehicle. 

However, the exact cost will depend on several factors, including the make and model of the van, the size and type of battery, and associated labour costs. It is estimated that a battery replacement can cost anywhere between £5,000 to £10,000.

What happens when an electric van is low on charge?

When an electric van is low on charge, there are several things that may happen, depending on the specific vehicle and the level of charge remaining. Here's what you can expect:

Warning Indicators

Most electric vans have a charge level indicator on the dashboard, similar to a fuel gauge in a conventional vehicle. As the charge level drops, the indicator will show the battery is low, often accompanied by a warning light or message.

Reduced Performance

As the battery charge decreases, the van's performance may begin to diminish. This can include reduced acceleration, lower top speed capabilities, and limitations on power-intensive features like heating or air conditioning.

Limp Mode

If the battery charge drops to a very low level, some electric vans may enter what’s called a ‘limp mode’. In this mode, the vehicle's speed and performance are drastically reduced to conserve the remaining energy and allow the driver to safely reach a charging point.

Final Recharge Warnings

Many electric vans will display increasingly urgent warnings to the driver as the battery charge nears depletion. These may include visual and audible alerts, as well as messages on the dashboard display indicating the need to recharge the battery.

Complete Shut-Down

If the battery is allowed to run down completely, the electric van will eventually shut down and come to a stop. At this point, the vehicle will not be able to move under its own power and will require a tow to a charging point.

New, Nearly New, and Used Electric Vans for Sale

With a dedicated team of knowledgeable professionals and a wide selection of top-quality electric vans, Loads of Vans offers a one-stop-shop experience for all your electric vehicle needs. 

Our commitment to providing exceptional customer service, expert advice, and competitive pricing sets us apart from the competition. Whether you're a business owner, fleet manager, or individual driver, Loads of Vans in Sutton is your trusted partner in navigating the exciting world of electric vans.

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