A person charging their electric van

The Pros and Cons of Electric Vans

An 800% increase in year-on-year sales of any item is worth noting. That’s the incredible growth there’s been in the electric van sector in Ireland in the first two months of 2018, compared to 2017.

Granted, the overall sales figures are still small. According to Motorstats, Just 27 of the 9,383 new van registrations in January and February this year were electric models. But that’s still a big jump on the just three that were registered in the same period last year, and it may be the start of a growing trend.

New financial incentives to use electric vans, that came into force this year, may be part of the reason. But either way, more people are making the switch. Others may still be thinking about it – and there’s much to think about. So here’s our guide to the pros and cons of electric vans:

Pros of Electric Vans

  1. Financial incentives. You can get a purchase grant up to €3,800 and VRT relief up to €5,000. You can even get up to €600 to install a fast-charge point at your premises.
  2. Low running costs. The cost per mile of an electric van is significantly lower than for diesel. This ESB calculator is for cars rather than vans, but it suggests that driving 400 miles per week (20,000 miles per year) would cost €8 per week in an electric car, but €50 in a diesel one and €70 in a petrol model. The same sort of savings would apply to electric vans. In addition, electric vans have the lowest rate of annual tax, at just €120.
  3. Low maintenance. An electric motor has far fewer moving parts than an internal combustion engine. This therefore brings easier and cheaper servicing.
  4. Improved performance. You could be surprised at how nippy these vans can be, especially in urban areas. Electric motors generate instant torque, which allows smooth and quick gear changes and acceleration. Electric van fans say they definitely beat diesel hands-down in this regard.

Cons of Electric Vans

  1. Range anxiety. This remains the big one. While driving range is constantly improving, electric vans will still not travel nearly as far on a full charge as a diesel one will with a full tank. Realistically, it means that electric vans are still best suited to urban areas only, where trips tend to be shorter.
  2. Range variance. This is linked to the first one. Getting a range of say 150 miles one day doesn’t necessarily mean you can count on it the next day too. This is because range is linked to all sorts of other factors too, such as driving conditions, driving style, payload weight, etc. Again, it’s why electric vans are still maybe best suited to shorter trips only.
  3. Charging time. When you do run out of ‘juice’, it takes much longer to get back on the move than it does with diesel. Even a ‘fast charge’ point will typically take 30 minutes to get an electric car to 80% capacity. It takes longer with vans. This is not a major issue if you only ever need to recharge overnight, but consider the difference if you need to top up during the day. Five minutes at a diesel pump, or an hour or more at a plug-in point?
  4. Weight. The batteries required for electric vans are heavy. This affects the cargo-carrying capabilities of the van itself. A payload limit may be just 2,500kg instead of 3,500kg.

Weighing up the pros and cons of electric vans

If considering a switch from diesel, you need to carefully weigh up the pros and cons of electric vans. Overall, it may be a good choice for you, if any or all of the following conditions apply:

  • You’re based in an urban area and rarely venture outside it.
  • You’re in a rural area, but you generally don’t cover more than 60 to 80 miles a day. For example, if you’re a builder who generally works on sites relatively close to home.
  • You don’t often need to carry or tow heavy loads.
  • Low running costs are important to you.

As electric technology continues to improve, more and more people are bound to make the switch. The important thing is to do what’s best for your business, at the right time to do it.

Insurance for electric vans

If or when you make the switch to an electric van, remember that www.insuremyvan.ie provides van insurance for electric vans, just as we do for any other type of van.

We deal with all the major insurance providers in Ireland to get you the best quote. We regularly deliver savings of 25% or more.

Other benefits of choosing us for your van insurance include:

  • Windscreen cover *
  • Breakdown/Roadside assistance *
  • Legal expenses cover *
  • Cover for driving other commercial vehicles *
  • Mirror No Claims Bonus from your commercial vehicles or private car, to help save you even more
  • Bonus protection available
  • Contents cover available
  • Open Driving cover available
  • Irish-based contact centre to deal with your policy and answer any questions
  • Low price and excellent customer service guarantee

Ready to save money? Get your quote now!

* Selected policies only