Choosing the right van for your business is one of the most crucial decisions facing any entrepreneur. We’ve put together everything you need to know about electric vans to help you consider all the options and find the solution that’s the right fit for your particular enterprise.
You are of course the best judge of what type of van will meet your business needs, and whether an electric van is the right choice for you. The most common issues raised with us relate to range and recharging, as well as the performance and price of electric vans. We’ll deal with those, and offer a few more snippets as well.
What you need to know about electric van range and recharging
Concerning electric vans’ range
There’s no question that the maximum range of an electric van on one charge is less than that of a diesel van on one tank. The best range of any pure electric van on the market today is 170 miles (NEDC) from the New Renault Kangoo Z.E. 33 and even this is a recent development, at over 50% more than its predecessor. Our real-world estimates for the New Kangoo Z.E. 33 is 124 miles in summer, and 75 in winter. Both are well over the 62 miles that most van drivers cover in a day, so if you operate in an urban environment, it’s almost certainly more than enough.
And what about charging and recharging?
Most electric vehicle drivers use a Wall-Box (in the case of Renault vehicles, supplied by partners ChargeMaster), a home or business premises charger which gives a full battery in 6–8 hours, depending on van model and charger installed. There are charge points in most UK service station, and a growing number are available at supermarkets and retail parks, while some London boroughs even have a developing network of lamppost charge points.
Everything you need to know about electric vans’ performance
Many people are surprised to find how much fun it is to drive an electric van! It’s a whole new driving experience: silent engine, no gear change, smooth acceleration, instant torque, zero use of power waiting at traffic lights. All this adds up to a relaxing drive occasioning less driver fatigue.
Capacity and payload: electric vans may be roomier than you think
For capacity and payload, there is not much to choose between a combustion engine or electric van. In Renault’s Kangoo Z.E. and the New Kangoo Z.E. 33, the battery is located in the centre of the vehicle beneath the floor. This lowers the centre of gravity for improved handling and load capacity is not compromised. With a load space that goes up to 4.6 m3 in the Kangoo Van Maxi Z.E. version, it can accommodate a Euro pallet and a payload of 640 kg. In short: if a small van meets your needs, so does this electric van. It also includes the same anchor points, and no lost opportunities for accessories like Ready4Work by Sortimo storage solutions, and other features of the Kangoo diesel van.
An all-important difference: electric vans and running costs
If you can take advantage of off-peak electricity, the New Kangoo Z.E. 33 results in a cost per mile around 3p* – compared with approximately 13.8p for a similarly-sized petrol engine and 9.2p for a diesel engine. Annual maintenance costs are also lower: there are fewer moving parts, there is no timing belt, air filter or fuel filter to replace, oil changes are a thing of the past, and battery maintenance is virtually free.
Add to this the fact that zero emission vans are exempt from the Congestion Charge, Low Emission Zone and forthcoming Ultra Low Emission Zone charges in London and other Ultra Low cities across the UK, and you get some impressive savings on running costs.
Electric van support – what if something goes wrong?
With a Renault Kangoo Z.E. or Kangoo Z.E. 33, there is plenty of support. Owners choose between outright battery purchase or hire on graded charges according to estimated mileage.
Hired batteries are guaranteed and replaced if they fall below 75% capacity. In case of a breakdown, furthermore, Renault provides emergency roadside repairs or repatriation 24/7/365 – even if the cause is running out of charge. When you buy the battery outright, Renault still guarantees it and replaces it should it fall below 70% of capacity within five years.
Electric van tax breaks: a big impact for a small business
An important issue for small businesses is the existence of Enhanced Capital Allowances (ECAs), which result in a 100% capital write-down allowance in year one on purchase of an electric van. This means you can deduct the full cost of the vehicle from your profits before tax. Do note, however, that vans cannot benefit from this first-year allowance and the Plug-in Van Grant at the same time.
Need to know more about electric vans?
We’ve covered everything you need to know per se, but there’s bound to be something else that applies to your business. Drop in to see us at Renault, have a chat and take an electric van for a drive: we think you’ll like it.
*Less than £3 full recharge cost, calculated by (a) overnight electricity charges (Npower Online Price Fix July 2018 rates for payment via monthly Direct Debit as of May 2017) and (b) a full recharge of the 33kWh battery.