Fully electric vans produce much fewer carbon emissions over their lifetime, and have much lower running costs than petrol or diesel vans. While they are slightly more expensive to buy, government grants can help with upfront costs. Tax exemptions and other discounts are available.

Types of electric van

There is a growing range of electric vans for any SME. Whether it’s a small van for last-mile deliveries, a trade vehicle, or a large van for heavy cargo, most needs are covered. Battery electric vans (BEV’s) run entirely on battery power. They have lower running costs, produce less emissions and qualify for more tax incentives and discounts. All models require a charging point to recharge batteries. But there are grants for businesses to install these at work and at their employees’ homes.

How far can you drive on one charge?

The general distance (range) covered by electric vans on each battery charge is xx according to the official WLTP. These are achievable in perfect conditions. In winter temperatures and at motorway speeds you should expect to get less range than this from each battery charge. It can also be reduced if you carry heavy cargo, or use lots of air conditioning or heating whilst driving.

How much does an electric van cost?

Electric vans cost a little more than diesel or petrol vans. Prices begin at:

  • £20,000 for a compact van
  • £35,000 for a medium-sized van
  • £50,000 for a large van
Lease prices are comparable with leasing a diesel van, so leasing can be quite attractive to businesses. The government’s plug-in van grant gives buyers up to 35% off selected electric vans. Find a full list of vans included in the scheme on the government’s website.

Running costs

Electric vans are cheaper to run and maintain than petrol or diesel vans. The average cost to drive 100 miles is:

  • £1 to £2 for a BEV on home charge with an off-peak tariff of 5p/kWh
  • £6 to £7 for a BEV on home charge with electricity costing 20p/kWh
  • £8 to £10 for a BEV on public charge
  • £16+ for petrol or diesel

Other benefits include exemption from:

  • London city centre daily congestion charge (£15) and ULEZ charge (£12.50 to £100)
  • London area daily LEZ charge (£100 to £300)
  • LEZ charges in other UK cities
  • 0% annual vehicle tax
  • Reduced parking fees in some towns and cities

Where to charge an electric van

There are thousands of charge points (‘EV chargers’) across the UK. They are found at locations such as car parks or service stations. Some are free to use. Others require payment or membership cards. The main types are:

  • Rapid (43kW+) (full charge can take under an hour, depending on the battery size of your van)
  • Fast (7 to 22kW) (full charge can take as little as 2 hours)
  • Slow (3 to 6kW) (full charge can take up to 13 hours)

Charging at work

You can install EV chargers at your home or workplace if you have off-street parking space and access to electricity. This is convenient for businesses as vehicles can charge overnight or during the work day. Most homes and workplaces can support a basic charger without electrical upgrades. The government’s grant scheme covers up to £350 per charging point if you own, lease or have an EV on order. Contact an authorised installer to find out how to get a charger installed. Your installer will assess your current power supply and whether you need to upgrade.