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Electric vans on the rise

There is one type of electric vehicle that is growing significantly, especially because of its importance in day-to-day delivery now that more and more of us are shopping online: vans.

Chema Bermejo
Oct 17, 2023
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Who hasn't bought something online recently? Most of us have become accustomed to this way of shopping. In order to get the product to us as quickly as possible, delivery companies are expanding their fleets of commercial vehicles, in which vans play an important role, especially light vans whose MMA (Maximum Authorised Mass) does not exceed 3,500 kilos and which can be driven with a B licence. In this fleet growth, it is important to highlight the presence of the new electric vans, which are becoming increasingly sophisticated and are ideal for last-mile deliveries, as they allow unrestricted circulation in the low-emission zone of the cities, of which there are more and more in European countries.

According to the European Automobile Manufacturers' Association (ACEA), sales of fully electric vans doubled (100.4%) to 50,708 units, in the first half of this year, driven by in France (118.9%) and Spain (138%) in the first half of this year. These new registrations therefore reflect a clear commitment to these vehicles.

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Electric vans: businesses’ best allies

Delivery companies, both large and small, need vehicles that offer good performance, easy maintenance and, where possible, low fuel consumption. Until now, diesel vans have dominated this market because they meet all these requirements, but the arrival of electric vans is changing this trend. Let us not forget that the electrification of vehicle fleets is not only a requirement of the European Union to comply with Fit for 55, but also a commitment by companies to sustainability and a business strategy to reduce costs, among other benefits.

The electric van offers significant improvements in terms of maintenance, since it has no internal combustion engine, which requires most of the attention; consumption, since electricity is cheaper than fuel; and operation, since it is easier and more efficient to use, since it has no mechanical elements such as a gearbox or clutch.

furgoneta eléctrica Nissan e-NV200 Evalia

The range of the new electric vans is more than sufficient for both long journeys and city deliveries, where a full charge is usually enough to get you through the day, with the latest vans claiming ranges of up to 400 kilometres. In addition, the network of public charging points is growing every day, and companies already have charging points on their premises to service their fleet of electric vans. And let's not forget that from 2026, light vehicles, both cars and vans, could charge at least every 60 km on the EU's main road network, further facilitating zero-emission mobility.

Specific tools are now available to manage electric vehicle fleets, such as EVectrum from Electromaps. With such platforms, companies can track the charging activity of their electric vehicles in real time, have full control over charging transactions per vehicle or driver, and have a simplified overview of costs.

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The lightest electric vans are the most popular

The market currently offers a wide range of electric vans in many sizes and load capacities. Virtually all commercial vehicle brands have one or more electric models with different battery capacities and power ratings. But it is the 'smaller' models that are the most successful in terms of sales, probably because they are used for last mile delivery and because they are available in combi versions that can carry up to five passengers (some even up to seven) and have a large cargo space.

furgoneta eléctrica Mercedes-Benz eVito

In terms of brands, we must take into account the new Chinese companies that are entering the European market with very competitive electric vans in terms of quality and price, such as Maxus or DFSK.

However, among the lightest electric vans, we can highlight a few due to their high demand, such as the Citroën ë-Berlingo, which is also manufactured in Spain; or the Peugeot e-Partner, which shares the base and components with the Berlingo, as both belong to the Stellantis group, as well as other models manufactured under the group's umbrella, such as the Opel Combo-e or the Fiat e-Doblò. Another popular electric van is the legendary Renault Kangoo E-Tech.

Range and load capacity of electric vans

For the models mentioned above, as well as for most electric vans in this smaller segment, the range is over 200 km and the load capacity - for vans longer than 4 m and with short or long wheelbase - is over 600 kg and can reach up to 1,000 kg.

This is true for the smaller vans, as the range of electric vans also includes 'medium' vans, which offer more cargo space but do not differ much in terms of range, with a range of more than 200 kilometres. These are usually the ones most in demand by large delivery companies such as Amazon.

furgoneta eléctrica Renault Kangoo

Among the most popular are the Mercedes-Benz eVito, the Citroën ë-Jumpy, along with other variants from the Stellantis group, or the Nissan e-NV200 Evalia, which we tested in Electromaps some time ago. The bestsellers in this section also include the Oriental Maxus eDeliver 3 and the DFSK eC35, both made in China and with price as their main selling point.

As with the smaller electric vans, it is common for medium vans to be offered with different chassis lengths, so that the loading capacity can be adjusted to suit requirements and can exceed 6 m3.

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Safety and comfort in electric vans

Gone are the days when small and medium vans (even the larger ones) were fitted with the bare minimum of equipment, with little regard for the comfort or safety of their occupants. Nowadays, all vehicles come with a considerable amount of standard equipment, including modern and sophisticated safety and prevention systems on a par with those found in passenger cars, and care is taken to ensure maximum comfort for the occupants, with essential features such as air conditioning, as they spend a large part of their working day behind the wheel, making the new electric vans ideal for making work as pleasant as possible.

Chema Bermejo
Oct 17, 2023
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