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To diesel or not to diesel: should your business hire electric vans?

The van leasing market is changing. Innovation and development in infrastructure and competitive pricing are making electric vans the next big step in the industry. Thanks to UK government legislation, automotive brands are making electric vehicles more popular, with desirable models and increased mile range being released.


New rapid electric charge points are constantly being built across the UK, making it easier to recharge than ever before. Many charge points exist on business premises, as well as a government grant to subsidise installing charging points in private homes. While the infrastructure is growing, it isn’t growing fast enough, which could mean charging points are stretched thin. The UK government’s 10 Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution plans to prohibit the sale of new diesel or petrol vehicles by 2030. Hybrid cars will still be sold, but vehicles must be able to be charged by electricity. Considering this, it isn’t surprising that we expect to see a rise in electric vans and electric van hire. Having access to rapid charge points is a crucial consideration. It is significantly cheaper to charge a vehicle on private overnight tariffs than it is to charge on public daytime chargers. Installing your own points cuts costs while making fuelling your car feasible and generally easier. It prevents a reliance on private tariffs or detouring to a charge point when out and about.

Where the demand is coming from

It seems that companies across the UK are shifting to electric vehicles. While the uptake is slow, it is still gradually increasing. Some global corporations such as Amazon and UPS are even opting for electric vans for their fleets over vehicles running on traditional fuel. So, should companies make the switch to electric? Yes, they most definitely should. While many of us are still unaware of the costs surrounding electric vans when compared to a diesel, the majority of the time, electric vans are more cost-efficient and subsequently offer more value for money. However, sometimes, the costs can range depending on the individual circumstances of operating an electric van.

Electric vans will be the future; however, elements such as the cost of electric, the driving style, whether a private charging point is installed, and average miles driven must be considered too. For example, while it may cost more to lease an electric van, the cost of charging it will be cheaper than the equivalent amount in petrol or diesel. It’s worth finding out more about the various costs and payoffs of electric vans. The technology in electric vans is improving at a rapid rate, so much so that we expect to see electric van leasing to be more cost-efficient than it is now before the end of this year. This should encourage more businesses to make the change to an electric fleet in 2022. Anyone who is unsure, but still wants to make the change from traditional fuel, should consider hybrid vans so they can still cut down on fossil fuel emissions.

Which electric vans are available?

Van leasing deals are available for the newest range of electric vans which have increased mile range and better efficiency. There are many options available depending on what is needed, including:

  • Renault Kangoo ZE – ideal for those looking for small van lease. The Kangoo ZE is great value for money with more than 100-mile range when fully charged.
  • Vauxhall Vivaro-E – a medium van that is able to hold 1,000kg with a 200-mile range when fully charged.
  • Mercedes eSprinter – while large van leases have less options than smaller sizes, the eSprinter is a competitive and efficient electric van that functions in optimum performance with heavy weight.

While we will be abandoning petrol and diesel cars by 2030, are enough of us willing to make that change beforehand? It is important that companies weigh up the pros and cons of an electric van fleet before making the switch.


The world takes note

Vauxhall owner Stellantis announced plans in July to build electric vans at its Ellesmere Port plant in Cheshire (UK). The UK government will contribute to the £100m investment. The Ellesmere Port plant will also make electric passenger car models for Vauxhall, Opel, Peugeot and Citroën. The carmaker confirmed that production of an all-electric van will start in 2022.

This follows the announcement in April that Toyota is launching its first zero emission, battery electric vehicles in Europe – the Proace Electric and Proace Verso Electric – adding a powerful new dimension to its Toyota Professional range of light commercial vehicles. The new models – a range of medium-duty vans and people carriers seating up to nine – achieve best-in-class EV performance with no compromise in the market-leading load-carrying capabilities of their conventionally powered counterparts. The new models will be introduced in selected European markets from early 2021. For business customers, avoiding the need for daily recharging ensures the vehicles have minimum downtime.

Practicalities in an industry shipping large components daily

Electric vans are a ‘would like to have’ at the moment, with the realisation that we must work towards ensuring that our industry is playing its part in terms of a carbon net-zero target. However, in practical terms they may not be feasible yet, as highlighted here by two of our leading champions of environmental responsibility. “When I last looked, electric still didn’t seem very practical for shifting bulky things over longer distances. It’s alright for light parcel deliveries in city centres, but not so sensible for pallets of castings travelling the length of the country! “I’m sure that the capacity of electric goods vehicles is going to develop dramatically over the next few years. If we’re going to achieve net-zero foundries then transport is going to have to be an important element of our strategy, so we’ll be keeping an eye on it.”

Phil Rawnson, MRT Castings Ltd

“At Midas we realised very early on in our route to carbon neutrality that our diesel-fuelled delivery van was responsible for a large part of our carbon footprint (PAS 2060 Scope 1 & 2). We investigated options for fully electric vans a couple of years back and realised that their relatively low range, when compared to cars, made them ideal for inner city or about town deliveries but inefficient for a day of delivering across counties.  “With that in mind we decided to take our van off the road entirely, saving all the running costs and the cost of a delivery driver and we switched entirely to multi drop couriers and palletised deliveries. This meant that the carbon footprint of our diesel van was negated and the carbon footprint of each delivery was shared amongst all the other deliveries the courier made, thus dramatically reducing that delivery’s carbon footprint. We felt that this was the quickest and best way of cutting our carbon emissions whilst waiting for the next phase of higher range electric vans to come on the market. “Once again we found that this saved us a huge amount of ‘van and driver’ costs, but it also meant that we could account accurately for sub-contract deliveries and ensure that our customers were accurately charged for their deliveries, meaning we didn’t under or overcharge.”

Alan Rance, Midas Pattern Company Ltd