It’s electrifying! Your Guide to the World of Electric Vans
With the conversation around electric vehicles growing, we caught up with our Rygor Commercials resident eVan expert, John LLoyd, to find out more about electrification and whether electric vans are really worth investing in.
Isn’t it expensive to purchase an electric van?
“The initial up-front cost of an electric van could be more expensive than vehicles running on other fuels, but it’s all about thinking about the bigger picture. You may well have heard that the Government plans to ban the sale of diesel and petrol vehicles in 2030 (and hybrids in 2035) so we will be seeing big changes over the next few years.
“What’s more, servicing and maintenance on an electric vehicle is cheaper, as they are less prone to general wear and tear and have fewer working parts than conventional vehicles.
“There are other monetary advantages too. For example, electric vehicles are exempt from the congestion zone and ULEZ charges, which if you are a business, small or large, which regularly operates in the Capital, or cities across the UK, you could be saving hundreds of pounds a month on fees alone. For example, for the London congestion charge, this currently means a saving of £11.50 per day, per vehicle for fully electric vans.
“The Government is also helping by subsidising the transition to electric with financial benefits that help towards both the purchase price and operating costs, including road tax.
“Running costs are also lower, as electric costs less than diesel and in our case, the Mercedes-Benz finance team has come up with eFinance offers which include maintenance care, that are specifically tailored for electric vehicles and the businesses looking to run them. We understand that many businesses would like to be able to see how electric vehicles could work for them, before making an outright purchase, with a significant upfront cost. This is why leasing options are a great alternative, as companies can budget to a monthly cost to help manage cashflow. What’s more, leasing monthly costs on a Mercedes-Benz eVan will be less than the overall costs of running an internal combustion vehicle. For example, at Rygor, we currently have a 12 month lease deal, for just £99* per week (*full T&Cs available via our website) which is perfect for customers who would like to dip their toe into electrification, with minimum initial commitment.”
Do electric vehicles have a long enough range?
“Daimler conducted a study in Europe recently which showed that most mid-size vans travel an average distance of 52.8miles a day – quite a lot less than you would expect. This means an electric van from Mercedes-Benz would be able to cover this distance no problem at all, without needing to recharge.”
Is charging an electric van going to be problematic and doesn’t it take a long time?
“Well, firstly, there are more and more charging points being put in around the country and this is something else which the Government has said it is committed to investing in.
“Battery charging times depend on whether the vehicle accepts the faster DC mode of charging. On a DC charge, the eSprinter for example, gives up to 80% charge in around 40 minutes using an 80kW rapid public charge point. Many chargers in the UK are currently 50kW. Of course, charging times can be affected by factors such as colder ambient temperatures, or the battery itself being is cold. For vans that operate on AC charging, a typical charge using a three-phase 7.4kW wallbox takes around 8 hours for an eSprinter and 6 hours for an eVito panel van. It’s also a comfort to know that the Mercedes-Benz eVans’ battery comes with an 8 year warranty or up to 100,000 miles.
“At Rygor, we work with New Motion to help look at at-home charging and business charging options. New Motion works with our customers to come up with the best solution for their specific needs and also has some great offers available when you purchase a Mercedes-Benz eVan from a Mercedes-Benz Commercial Vehicle Dealer. For example, for retail customers we can arrange to have a charge point fitted at the customer’s home address for free. What’s more, because this is their area of expertise, New Motion can also help customers claim the relevant Government grants.”
So, what’s the difference between AC and DC charging?
“AC power comes from the national grid. It’s the most common charging method for electric vehicles. An AC charge does need to be converted into DC charge though, before the battery can store the power. Therefore, it needs to go through a converter inside the vehicle first. DC chargers, on the other hand, are more powerful and provide a much faster, more constant charge. It’s worth also noting that many AC wallboxes need a charging cable to be carried in the vehicle (which comes as standard on all Mercedes-Benz eVans). DC charging on the other hand uses the CCS which is tethered to the charging station.
Are there any other benefits of electric vehicles?
“The eSprinter, eVito and eTourer are all fantastic vehicles. They look professional, drive well and are already receiving rave reviews from our customers. What’s more, the vehicle load-space is uncompromised due to the packaging of the batteries into the chassis and payload is great for the vehicle size. The Mercedes-Benz eVans have also been fitted with quiet drivetrain which is a big benefit to the driver and passengers, and provide less noise vibration and harshness.
“Looking at electric vehicles generally, in addition to some of the cost benefits, we have to remember the positive environmental impact. Moving towards electric, whether with small steps, or big leaps, means we can all start to play our part in protecting the planet and creating a better environment for future generations.”
How can a business know if it is really ready for electric vehicles?
“That’s a good question, and it is fair to say that at the moment, not all companies will be in a position to move to a completely electric fleet.
“Companies which are currently in the best place to invest in electric vans are those which do up to 90miles a day and travel similar routes daily, such as couriers and express parcel delivery. Some people-moving companies like airport transfers could also benefit from electric vehicles, depending on their location of work, especially when it comes to the new eVito Tourer which has 8+driver seats and a 221 mile WLTP combined range. They of course will also require on-site charging points, or easy access to charging points.
“The great thing is that Mercedes-Benz Vans has launched the eVan Ready app, which you can download for free. This app allows businesses to track some of their journeys to see whether their organisation is in the right place for moving to electric vehicles.
“Our team has also been trained in the new eVan range from Mercedes-Benz and we work with New Motion on charging points, so if anyone had questions about electric vans and whether they are right for their business, they can talk to us by phone, video call, email or, of course in-branch when our showrooms re-open post-lockdown.”