Electric vans have been in the news this week – here’s a quick roundup of the two main stories.
Electric Vans Still Too Expensive
A new report commissioned by the Department for Transport has found that the total cost of ownership for an electric van may still be 10% higher than for a diesel van in 2030.
Examining the market potential for ultra-low emission van technologies, including pure EV, Plug-in EV and hydrogen fuel-cells, the report from Element Energy concluded that:
- The current cost of ownership for pure electric large vans is more than 50% higher than their diesel-engine equivalents.
- 10% is the maximum cost of ownership premium that van operators are willing to accept – with most unwilling to pay any.
- Using government oil price projections, pure electric vans will still have a 10% cost of ownership premium over diesel in 2030.
- By 2030, hydrogen fuel cell-powered vans are likely to reach cost of ownership parity with diesel vans – but there will be concerns over the level of hydrogen infrastructure.
The report was carried out prior to the introduction of the Plug-in Grant for vans and its cost of ownership calculations also do not take into account incentives such as the London Congestion Charge exemption.
Although the plug-in grant reduces the cost of a qualifying electric van by up to 20%, it may still take some years for electric vans to achieve parity – and there is no guarantee of how long the plug-in grant will be maintained.
The British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA) is urging manufacturers to follow-up on the report’s suggestion that they investigate the business case for bringing more hybrid powertrains to market, particularly for smaller vans, where the economics are much more favourable.
Commenting on the report, John Lewis, BVRLA Chief Executive, said:
“This well-researched report is a massive wake-up call for electric van makers and the government. The government has put its money where its mouth is by delivering the Plug-in Van Grant and other tax incentives, but they need to give operators confidence that these will be more than just short-term measures.
“The vehicle rental and leasing industry is ready and waiting to step in and help create a sustainable market for ultra-low emission vans, but fleets make decisions based on cost more than sentiment.”
Renault Kangoo Z.E. Wins Ecovan Award
The win is the third award for the Kangoo Z.E., which was also chosen as International Van of the Year 2012 and What Van? Magazine’s Van of the Year.
The Kangoo Van Z.E. is the first electric van to be directly produced by a mass market manufacturer – it’s made in Renault’s regular factory and is not modified or assembled by specialist subcontractors.
VansA2Z.com judges hailed Renault’s innovative rental approach to the funding of the most expensive part of an electric van, the battery pack, and claimed it was “a very tempting prospect for operators with a suitable duty cycle”.
Website editor Neil McIntee added, “It is absolutely superb, the most complete electric vehicle and very driveable – it works beautifully. I have driven it many times in many countries, including the Brighton to London Future Car Challenge, and found it works completely effortlessly. It was the worthy winner in the ecovan category.”
Renault’s Kangoo Van Z.E. range was recently confirmed eligible for the Government’s new Plug-in Van Grant which brings the line-up’s already tempting starting price down to £13,592 excluding VAT.