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Our very Hendy guide to EV CV's!

Why go electric as a commercial business owner?

In today’s world, where sustainability takes centre stage, the spotlight is turning towards electric vehicles (EVs) more and more. For commercial and business owners, the transition to electric vans has become a very compelling idea, as more benefits of electric van ownership come to light, that extend beyond cost-efficiency.

Because electricity costs are less per mile than diesel or petrol, electric vans are less expensive to run. But van maintenance is also often cheaper, and there is no vehicle excise duty (road tax) to pay for a pure electric van. And when driving electric, you’ll help to improve local air quality when you drive because there are no tailpipe emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) or nitrogen oxides.

Making the switch to electric can be daunting, especially when it comes to your business. At Hendy, we understand the importance of having a van that doubles as a business partner, that can be there every day to make sure you work as efficiently as possible. It’s normal to have questions, and we’re here to help answer them. Take a look below at some Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) surrounding electric vans and why making the switch is a sensible choice for the future of your business.

What is an electric vehicle?

A vehicle powered only by electricity is known as a battery electric vehicle (BEV or EV). The battery of the car or van is charged from mains electricity and also uses power from regenerative braking. Regenerative braking is when electricity is produced by the braking or slowing down of a vehicle, helping to extend its driving range.

What electric vans are available to me?

Many well-known brands offer small, medium and large electric vans. Practical driving ranges of up to 200 miles are now available from small- and medium-sized vans, while many bigger vans up to 3.5 tonnes can provide payloads and load volumes comparable to their diesel counterparts. A broad range of body options are available for larger-sized vans, such as crew cabs, caged tippers, dropsides and vans with long and short wheelbases.

Is electric mileage really practical for workdays?

A realistic electric van mileage for a normal workday hinges on the balance between daily mileage, charging infrastructure and cost savings. While the lower cost of electricity is a significant factor in recovering the purchase or lease cost premium, it’s important to think about the daily mileage covered. If your electric van’s maximum single-charge range is surpassed during a workday, taking time to recharge is essential. For vans with very low daily mileage, the cost premium may not be recovered over the vehicle’s usage period.

To see which vans would work well as electric vehicles, using tools like a mileage log, mileage logging phone app or telematics (if fitted) can help business owners understand their daily distance driven and compare it against a van’s electric driving range, factoring in a reserve for unplanned diversions.

Will an electric van suit my day-to-day tasks?

There may be chances to top up the battery if your van is left parked during the working day, for example in between delivery runs or while you’re working on-site. Charging in these situations will likely mean relying on public charging stations, of which there are over 20,000 at over 13,000 sites, and will depend on where your downtime occurs. Frequent charging opportunities can significantly extend the achievable daily range of your van or enable the purchase of a less expensive van with a smaller battery.

Some vans even have special adaptations to suit your work day. Take the 100% electric All-New Transit Custom, for example, which combines legendary capabilities with an electrified powertrain for more efficiency and zero emissions while driving. It even has an innovative steering wheel tilt feature, perfect for resting your laptop or eating lunch – it’s an office on the go!

What are some of the benefits of an electric van?

• No tailpipe emissions and a government support grant

• Exempt from London’s Congestion Charge and Clean Air Zones in other major cities like Manchester and Birmingham

• More responsive acceleration, a lower centre of gravity and a quieter drive

• Lower maintenance costs with fewer moving parts

• No road tax for fully electric vans (until 2025)

• Can boost business image with a socially conscious and eco-friendly reputation

What electric vans are available in the UK?

Electric vehicles only continue to become more popular, so electric vans are available from almost every major manufacturer, including Ford, Renault, Nissan, Vauxhall and IVECO. Speak to your local Hendy van dealership to learn more if you have a specific model in mind, or begin your electric journey by exploring these popular options:

Ford E-Transit: Ford’s first-ever all-electric van, the E-Transit comes in two height and three length options, with up to 15.1m3 of cargo space.

Nissan Townstar: The Townstar has a 183-mile electric range and an intelligent around-view monitor that allows for 360-degree views to help you park confidently in even the tightest spaces.

Renault Kangoo E-Tech: Winner of What Car?’s 2024 Best Small Electric Van, the Kangoo E-Tech has a loading volume up to 4.9m3, rapid charging up to 80% and medium and long wheelbase options.

Vauxhall Movano-e: With 150 different versions available, the Movano-e is ideal for trade professionals. It charges up to 80% in one hour and has three seats in the front and four in the back.

IVECO eDaily: Sustainable without compromise on toughness, the eDaily is available from 3.5 to 7.2 tonnes and can be specified with one to three batteries for an excellent all-electric range.

What is the government plug-in van and truck grant (PIVG)?

For small vans under 2.5 tonnes gross vehicle weight (GVW) or for big vans between 2.5 and 3.5 tonnes GVW, a plug-in van grant of up to £6,000 or 35% of the vehicle’s purchase price is available. The leasing provider may include this in the lease rental fee or the supplying dealer may deduct it from the van’s price.

Are electric vans cheaper than other vans?

Though electric vehicles have a higher initial purchase price, the running costs of electric vans can be a third less compared to petrol or diesel vans. So while the upfront costs might be more than you’d ordinarily be looking to spend, in the long term, you’ll save on fuel costs.

Additionally, the servicing and maintenance costs are nearly a quarter less for an electric van when compared to a petrol engine.

What are the financial benefits of owning an electric van?

• The Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme covers up to 75% (£350 cap incl. VAT) of the cost of a home charge point supply and installation.

• The Workplace Charging Scheme offers 75% coverage (up to £350 per socket) for purchase and installations, with a maximum of 40 sockets per applicant.

• Electric vans qualify for a 100% discount on the London Congestion Charge and are exempt from ULEZ charges.

• There are no charges for electric vans driving in clean air zones, including in Birmingham and Bath.

• Some local authorities provide free or discounted parking for EVs, along with resident permit discounts for electric vehicles.

What are electric vans like to drive?

• There’s no gear changing required, which makes electric vans easy and relaxing to drive.

• They operate quietly, reducing stress for the driver, especially if you work during the night.

• They contribute to reducing CO2 emissions, promoting a healthier environment with no tailpipe emissions.

• Over time, emissions decrease as electricity from the grid becomes cleaner and more renewable alternatives become available, enhancing the van’s environmental impact.

How do I charge an electric van?

Charging an electric van is simple with just two cables: one for a standard three-pin domestic socket and another with a seven-pin Type 2 connector for public charge points. However, it’s recommended to avoid using three-pin sockets for regular charging, as a dedicated home or work charge point is faster and safer.

The charging rate depends on the van model and its charger rating. For instance, a Nissan eNV200 connected to a 7kW or 22kW AC charge point will charge at a maximum of 6.6kW. Some new vans offer 11kW charging, with rapid charging options up to 100kW.

Charging time is influenced by the charger’s output, the van’s charging specifications and battery size (kWh rating). While larger batteries provide a greater driving range, the time to recharge for a specific distance remains the same. In fact, it’s the distance driven and energy consumption (miles per kWh) that determine the recharge time, not the battery size.

What happens when an electric vehicle is low on charge?

When an electric van is running low on charge, it follows three key steps. Firstly, it notifies the driver through dashboard notifications, just like traditional low fuel alerts in petrol and diesel vehicles.

As the charge decreases further, the van enters a power-saving mode, limiting specific features and reducing power to extend the remaining range. If the battery charge drops to a critically low level, the van may shut down its propulsion to prevent complete battery depletion. In this case, the vehicle stops and, similar to an internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicle running out of fuel, will need help from a recovery vehicle.

What is the lifespan of an electric van?

The main factor influencing the lifespan of an electric van is its battery. Most EVs use lithium-ion batteries, which can last for many years. Drivers can typically expect their electric van’s battery to last over 10 years or 100,000 miles. Towards the end of its lifespan, the battery won’t impact the van’s performance, though there may be a slight reduction in range after 8–10 years. If needed, replacing the battery in an electric van is a relatively straightforward process.

How far can an electric van go on one charge?

Electric vans typically have a range of 100–220 miles on a single charge, varying by model. Factors such as van size, cargo weight and driving style will influence the actual range achieved.

I need a refrigerated van. Is electric an option for me?

Refrigerated electric vans are available, and some van conversion specialists can also install additional ‘energy-consuming’ features, like light beacons, handwashers and tail lifts. Though be aware, these modifications may impact driving range.

If we’re talking stats, a refrigeration unit can reduce a vehicle’s range by around 10%, depending on usage patterns and the power source. To combat this, an auxiliary battery can be fitted to independently power the fridge unit, preserving the van’s drive battery.

Suppliers can guide on the optimal solution – simple practices like fitting curtains and closing loading doors during deliveries help minimise battery consumption.

Is payload capacity lower with an electric van?

Smaller and medium-sized electric vans typically match the payload capacity of their diesel or petrol counterparts. However, many larger vans up to 3.5 tonnes may have a lower payload due to the battery weight. Some manufacturers offer varying battery sizes for larger vans, allowing a potential increase in payload by sacrificing driving range. Some electric van manufacturers take advantage of legislation allowing electric vans up to 4.25 tonnes to be operated under the same license and terms as 3.5-tonne vans.

Can I tow with an electric van?

Electric vans have strong torque at low speeds, making them well-suited for towing. However, older, smaller vans in the market may have limited or zero towing capacities. And some newer electric vans boast towing capacities exceeding 1 tonne.

Before making your choice, it’s crucial to review the specifications of the van to ensure it aligns with your towing requirements. Additionally, consider potential reductions in range when towing a trailer. Checking the manufacturer’s guidelines will help determine the suitability of the van for your specific needs.

How do I know if an electric van is for me?

When considering purchasing an electric van, think about your driving needs first and foremost. Look at your daily mileage and routes and the availability of charging options in your area using tools like Zapmap.

Next, consider the payload capacity, especially if you transport heavy cargo, as electric vans may have slightly lower limits due to the battery weight.

And lastly, compare the upfront cost, the potential fuel and maintenance savings and the available incentives to determine the financial viability of an electric van for your individual circumstances.

If you’re not sure whether an electric van is for you, speak to the Hendy team today for personalised advice to help find the best solution for your business.

I’d like to know more. What do I do next?

Speak to your local Hendy dealership for more information about your chosen electric van model or for tailored advice about the model that best suits your business and daily requirements.

Enquire today