A recent survey by van manufacturer Fiat found that 35% of van drivers are would consider an electric van for their next model. Given this, surely it’s about time that van rental companies started to offer electric van hire?
With a few notable exceptions, electric hire vehicles are few and far between. When they are available, they’re usually cars, not vans. I’ve searched through the websites of all the main van hire companies and as far as I can tell, none of them offer electric vans.
The traditional objections to electric vans are that they’re:
only suitable for very local use due to limited range
too expensive to buy
too inconvenient to charge
have uncertain resale values
Of course, there’s some truth in these comments. But more charging points are being added every day and many electric vans now offer real-world range of 120 miles or more. The latest Citroën e-Berlingo small van (also sold as the Vauxhall Combo-e) has an official range of up to 171 miles. I guess that will be a bit lower in actual use, but it should still be plenty for many van drivers.
To be fair, I did find one van hire company in my search that does offer electric vans. Kudos to Yorkshire/Lincolnshire firm TJS Self Drive, which has some small electric vans for hire. TJS rightly make the point that 70% of small vans travel less than 70 miles a day. That’s well within the range of most current electric van models.
If van hire companies are lagging behind in adopting electric models, big corporate fleet operators are showing more interest. One example is television group Sky, which recently took delivery of 11 Renault Kangoo Z.E. electric vans. These will be based in London, Southampton and Scotland and will be used to help Sky work out how it can convert its wider commercial fleet to electric power in order to meet its corporate target of net zero carbon emissions by 2030.
It’s early days for electric van hire, but as we’ve been saying for years here at vanrental.co.uk, electric vans are very well suited to some types of van use. Many companies operate vans in urban areas, with limited mileage or fixed routes. Electric power makes increasing sense and helps companies to meet their environmental responsibilities. We’d urge van hire companies to show leadership in this area by making electric vans available as widely as possible.
The UK is in lockdown again. Government rules say you should stay at home unless you need to leave for essential reasons. If you do venture out, stay local unless you are required to travel for work or other permitted reasons.
Car and van hire has been designated as an essential business by the government, so most van hire companies are still open as usual. Our van hire price comparison system is working as usual to help you find van hire near you.
If you’re moving house, you should still be able to rent a van to help on the day (moving house is still allowed).
How Covid-19 lockdown is affecting van hire
To ensure customers and staff stay safe, most van hire companies have implemented thorough deep cleaning routines for all vehicles between hire bookings.
Although most van hire companies are open for business, our experience is that you may find some differences in availability compared to normal. Our information suggests that some large companies may have closed selected branches. Some local independent companies may be busier than usual, others may be less busy.
If you’re looking for van hire in your local area we’d suggest booking a little further ahead of time if possible.
There’s also a second consideration. Is your journey essential? We’re not here to enforce the lockdown rules and neither are the hire companies. But we think it’s only right to say that unless you need to rent a van for essential activities, you should perhaps delay your hire until the UK lockdown is eased.
It’s possible that you’ll be asked about the purpose of your journey, especially if you travel outside your local area. We know of several people who’ve been stopped by the police on motorways when travelling long distances recently.
With all that said, if you need to hire a van, you should be able to do so during lockdown.
Van hire giant Enterprise has opened a new Enterprise Car Club location in Amesbury, Wiltshire. Vehicles available at the new location include several cars plus a Volkswagen Crafter van, which will be based at the Amesbury Holiday Inn.
Car (and van)-sharing clubs are an increasingly popular alternative to vehicle ownership and daily rental. For town and city dwellers who need a vehicle for a few hours every now and then, we think they’re a superior alternative to owning a vehicle.
Enterprise’s Car Club charges start at £3.45 per hour for regular users and £4.95 per hour for regular club members. There’s even a student hire option which allows drivers aged 19-21 to hire vehicles from just £5.95 per hour. Kudos to Enterprise for making this available — most companies exclude drivers under 22.
As you’d expect, all vehicles receive a comprehensive clean between hires. This does mean that availability is lower than usual at the moment, as longer than usual is required between hires to allow the vehicle to be cleaned.
With the weather starting to warm up, it’s a good time to start thinking about DIY and big garden projects. Or perhaps you’re planning for a student move back home at Easter — or even moving house yourself.
Whatever your plans, hiring a van will save your car from damage and dirt and enable you to transport much more in a single trip. You could end up saving time and money.
To cut the cost of van hire, Hertz is offering a 10% discount code for van hire bookings and rental made in March. Here are the details:
This friendly local firm offers a range of vans to hire from its Salisbury branch on the Milford Trading Estate.
Three sizes of van are available:
Small vans (e.g. Citroen Berlingo) – from £45 per day*
Large vans (e.g. Ford Transit MWB) – from £65 per day*
Luton Vans – from £100 per day*
*prices correct at time of publication (Feb 2020)
Students with a valid photo ID can obtain a 10% discount when booking van hire. The Storage Factory also supports the Blue Light Card scheme and the Defence Discount Service, so miliatary personnel, emergency services and NHS workers are all entitled to discounts when booking (valid photo ID required).
As the company’s name suggests, The Storage Factory also offers self storage services at the same location. To find out more, contact The Storage Factory directly:
Driving games are usually associated with high-powered supercars and heavy-duty trucks. But the Forza Horizon 4 driving game is going one better and has included something that’s much more fun for van lovers — the 1965 Ford Transit.
By modern standards, this 75 horsepower vehicle is slow and handles like a bath tub. I suspect the “faithfully recreated … driving experience” will seem fairly agricultural alongside high-powered alternatives like the Ford GT.
But as we all know, driving a van is always much more fun than driving a car. And vans don’t get much more classic than the 1965 Ford Transit.
1,000 photos don’t lie
To measure up the van for the game, Forza’s photographers took about 1,000 photos of an original van from Ford’s heritage collection. Every detail was recorded, right down to the door hinges and the inside of the engine bay. These images were then used to create a digital replica of the van.
Alongside this, Forza’s physics team recreated the driving experience of the original van so that game players can enjoy an authentic Transit experience and load-carrying ability.
The end result is one of the most authentic game driving experiences you’ll find. Don’t believe me? Check it out for yourself!