Why buy an electric van?
Electric vehicles are very much part of our future. With cars the distinct main focus, other vehicles are starting to see electric versions become available too. This includes vans, the workhorses of everyday life, that deliver our goods, carry our tools and come in handy when shifting bulky items, to name just a few uses.
Mainly diesel powered, van manufacturers are now starting to offer some interesting electric versions. Positives of an electric van include:
- Being substantially heaper to run
- Better for the environment
- Congestion charge exempt
- Smooth power delivery
- Relaxing driving experience
Below we take a look at some of our current favourites, which include some household names as well as some that may not have been on your radar.
Kicking off our electric van list strong with the International van of the Year 2021; the Vauxhall Vivaro-e. With such a prestigious award to its name, you just know the Vivaro-e is going to be good.
Styling wise, the Vivaro-e looks rather smart for a van, and comes equipped as standard with cruise control, auto headlights, rear parking sensors, nearside and offside sliding side-access doors and a smart 7-inch colour touchscreen.
Vauxhall Vivaro-e offers up to 205 miles of electric range per charge, when opting for the 75kWh battery, or up to 143 miles with the 50kWh battery option. That's a lot more than many current electric vans which can't get beyond 100 miles, let alone 200 miles.
Payloads are decent too, with 1,226kg from the 50kWh battery version and 1,002kg for the 75kWh battery version. Either spec can tow up to 1,000kg and both produce zero CO2 emissions.
As for charging, 80% capacity can be achieved between 30 and 45 minutes with a 100kw charger. As Vauxhall is part of PSA - the Peugeot e-Expert and Citroën ë-Dispatch are almost identical vans - also winning International Van of the Year. They feature slightly different styling and minor changes in their overall stats.
Renault Kangoo Z.E.
As for styling, the Kangoo has been updated since its first appearance a decade ago. Now fresher and smarter, the interior follows suit, but this is still a van so there is no over the top features. The Kangoo is focused on getting the job done.
Over time the practical Kangoo has evolved and is by far one of the best electric vans on offer. Smaller and more compact than the aforementioned Vauxhall, Peugeot and Citroën award winners, the Kangoo Z.E. still offers a decent 640kg payload, and a not too shabby 322kg towing capacity, which considering its size is rather good.
On average, you should see around 124 miles of range in the warmer summer months, whilst in winter you'll see a reduced circa 75 miles of range. Charging will take just 6 hours from flat to full, when using a 7kW wallbox charger.
Another decent electric van, the Nissan e-NV200 doesn't stray too far from the regular NV200 vans. Apart from small blue detailing here and there on the exterior and interior, the e-NV200 is subtle in its approach.
What isn't so subtle is its electric ability, with between 124 and 187 miles possible, thanks to a new 40kwh battery. What's more, three different charging modes are available, with an 80% charge possible in 40 to 60 minutes with a rapid charger, or a full charge in seven and a half hours with a wall box. It's also worth taking note that if you wanted to charge via a domestic plug, it would take a lengthy 21 and a half hours. But it's nice to know there will always be an option.
The e-NV200 has a payload of up to 705kg, along with a 410kg towing capacity too. Standard features include ABS, front power windows and Nissan Intelligent Key, whilst the range also features cruise control, reversing camera, air con and navigation.
Renault ZOE Van
The Renault ZOE Van is actually the first all-electric car-derived van available for the UK market. Featuring the same electric range, tech and interior quality of the ZOE electric car, the van version is a nice transition for those looking for a van that could well be their first van, ideal for a small business.
A payload of up to 387kg is decent, considering the ZOE is the most compact van in our list. This is the only van in our list that doesn't feature any towing capacity, but considering its humble dimensions, it comes as no surprise.
However, for what it lacks in towing capability, it more than makes up for in range, offering the most in this list of electric vans, with up to 245 miles possible.
Like most electric vans, a 7kW charger is a great addition if you want to charge your electric van in a reasonable amount of time. It will take around 9-10 hours with the ZOE, so an overnight charge will suit it perfectly. Public fast chargers reduce this time to around 3 hours.
Rapid charge points can give 80% battery in as little as 1 hour 10 minutes, or 90 miles of range in 30 minutes.
OK, we hold our hands up, the Ford E-Transit isn't out yet, but we couldn't ignore this upcoming van, and after all how can you ignore the 'backbone of Britain'?
The Ford Transit is arguably the most iconic van in the UK, and the E-Transit set for launch in 2022 sounds like it could be a great bet for those wanting a fine electric van.
Promising a 217 mile range and up to a 1616kg payload, the E-Transit will offer a more than decent package. And as for running costs, it's estimated you could save up to 40% in servicing and cost of ownership compared to a regular Transit or similar.
Ford SYNC 4 will also be included, for a cloud-connected communication and entertainment system. Charging will be similar to the norm, with overnight charging solutions, and faster times from a dedicated wallbox or by using a public rapid charging station.
Find your perfect van
The above five electric vans are a strong foundation in terms of electric van technology. Of course, many more electric vans will appear as more manufacturers develop their own versions.