Mina's top electric vans coming in 2020 and beyond

24th April 2020
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Here at Mina, we are passionate about enabling you to have cost-efficient, no fuss, green electricity for your electric vehicles, and believe that whether you are a family with 2.4 kids, or a business with a fleet of 4000, this should be the same for everyone. 

As we have highlighted before, many cities are introducing Clean Air Zones and Low Emissions Zones in the coming years, which means it’s just a matter of time before we are all required to step up our low-emission game, and for businesses electric vans vans are set to become ever-more important to those that want to keep working in urban areas. 

It’s thought that electric vans will work best for fleets that cover short distances and so-called ‘last-mile’ delivery services. These companies largely operate in urban areas and do multiple stops on a route from the depot, and the very latest vans offer the kind of telematics that allow fleet operators to optimise routes so that battery range is less of a concern. However, constant improvements in battery technology means electric vans have increased range capability, so they should be able to do a day’s work without having to be recharged. Once the van is back at the depot or the employee’s home, it can then be charged overnight at a relatively low cost when compared to filling up with diesel or petrol.

Here’s some of the best E-Vans that we would love to see picked up by fleet managers over the coming months, and why we love them: 

LEV van

The London Electric Vehicle Company (LEVC) is well on the way to adding a second vehicle to its line-up to join its TX taxi. The new van will use the same running gear as the taxi, so will have a large battery and a small petrol engine to extend its range, but the van will get a more conventional look than the taxi, as it will ditch the retro-inspired front end and tail of that model in favour of something more reserved.

It’ll use a 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol engine from sister company Volvo, as well as an additional electric motor to power the rear wheels. The same system can be found in the current LEVC taxi, and the same pure-electric range of 80 miles is promised here.

Initially, the van will be available in just one body style, however, LEVC hasn’t ruled out different variants in future. Expect a typical van set-up, with sliding side doors and rear access, too, although the taxi’s tight turning circle could be retained to help the LEVC van in the urban areas it will be designed to tackle.

Ford Transit Hybrid

While it’s not a pure electric model, the plug-in Ford Transit Custom PHEV garners interest because Ford’s mid-sized van is the UK’s best-seller, and this is Ford’s first foray into electrification for its commercial vehicles.

The Transit Custom PHEV features a 1.0-litre three-cylinder EcoBoost turbo petrol engine that works as a generator to charge the 14kWh battery and electric motor. This gives the Transit Custom a range of 30 miles on electric power, while the engine recharges the battery when necessary.

Inside, the PHEV has the same cargo volume as the standard Transit Custom, at six cubic metres in standard wheelbase form, while a payload in excess of a tonne is also promised. The Transit Custom PHEV underwent trials with a number of companies, including Transport for London and the Metropolitan Police, before arriving in Transit Dealers in the second half of 2019.

Fiat Ducato Electric

The Ducato Electric was announced in July 2019, and Fiat says the Ducato Electric will be offered in the same range of body variants as the diesel equivalent, with load volumes from 10 to 17 cubic metres and a maximum payload of 1,950kg. Its motor will produce just over 120bhp, while a range of battery sizes will offer ranges from 136 to 223 miles (albeit calculated using the old NEDC test method).

The Fiat Ducato van is an absolute tour de force of camper conversion, accounting for roughly 75 percent of European motorhomes, so eventually everyone from work crews to stealthy #vanlifers could be cruising around in a quiet, zero-emissions van!

Mercedes eSprinter

The eSprinter is Mercedes’ second all-electric van, basically a larger version of the eVito. The eSprinter is based on the front-wheel-drive version of the award-winning Sprinter panel van, and the addition of an electric drive system hasn't impacted on that model's vast 10.5 cubic-metre load area. Like all electric vans, the motor is up front where the engine would sit, while the battery pack is located under the floor. Mercedes fits this into a steel cage to help protect it from impact in the event of an accident.

You can order it with three (35kWh) or four (55kWh) battery packs; with the smaller pack, range is 71 miles and the payload is 1,040kg, while the larger one manages 104 miles and 891kg - which Mercedes claims is enough for a days' work doing 'last mile' deliveries. Impressively, integrated fast charging means the battery can be topped up to 80% capacity in 30 minutes.

VW e-Transporter

For VW, the e-Transporter and e-Caddy have been created with the assistance of German tuning company Abt. While Abt is more famous for running motorsport programmes for Audi and VW in touring cars and more recently the Formula E single seater series, the e-van project sees it take a different approach with electric drive. Here, Abt takes the standard versions of the Caddy small van and mid-size T6 Transporter and simply fits the electric drive at its own factory. 

The ‘basic’ e-Transporter has a range of 129 miles, but VW also offers the option of adding a second battery to the T6 that doubles its capacity and takes the van's range up to nearly 250 miles - which is further than any electric van currently on sale or even coming soon.

If you’re looking for support to take your fleet electric, get in touch. We can help.