2021 is the year of electric vans - watch this space!

2021 is the year of electric vans - watch this space!

07 April 2021 | Kate Kozlowska | 9 min read

2021: the year silent electric vans will start making noise

With electric vehicles becoming more popular and new models being launched this year, we predict that the world of electric van leasing is going to rise in 2021. In just the first two months of 2021, there were 9,776 new battery-powered vehicle registrations in the UK - just to compare this figure was 6,562 for the same period in 2020 - that's a 49% increase. On top of the pure electric vehicles, there were also 9,255 plug-in hybrids (PHEV), 10,033 hybrids (HEV), 8,979 mild-hybrid diesel (MHEV diesel) and 14,019 mild-hybrid petrol (MHEV petrol) vehicles registered between January and February 2021. In total, the first two months of 2021 saw 52,062 electric and alternatively fuelled vehicles registered. This is nearly 37% of the total vehicle sales in the UK in this period.

2020 laid good foundations for electric vehicles

The groundwork for the electric vehicles (EV) not only included new models being launched but also the infrastructure has improved which is extremely important. Both aspects of the EV market significantly moved forward in 2020, preparing solid foundations for electric vans in 2021. The Government's 10 points climate plan including a ban on petrol and diesel vans and cars by 2030 and an additional £1.3 billion for electrical vehicles charging infrastructure, £582 million in grants for those buying new zero and ultra-low emission cars and commercial vehicles. There has been nearly £500 million for the development and production of EV batteries which has had a positive impact on electric cars and vans sales.

The market for commercial electric vans

As a company specialising in commercial van leasing, we've seen more customers opt for electric vehicles and have seen the big players like Renault Kangoo ZE dominate the electric van market. In 2020 there were just 5,266 electric vans registered with the majority of them being the Renault Kangoo ZE, which has done extremely well in the last year, and Nissan eNV200

Renault Kangoo electric       Nissan NV200 electric

In 2020 there were a few new electric van models hit the market: medium vans like the Citroen e-Dispatch and Peugeot Expert Electric Van, a winner in terms of payload, range and price - the Vauxhall Vivaro-e, as well as the large Maxus eDeliver and Fiat eDucato. 

Who's buying electric vans?

We have received a lot of interest from fleets when it comes to electric vans.  The Renault Kangoo ZE has become a top choice for van fleets, with councils and local authorities switching to electric to reduce their carbon footprint. Many big companies, like Tesco and Network Rail, are looking to set an example and signed up for the 'Clean Van Commitment' plan which means they will replace their fleet with fully-electric vans by 2028 - 2 years before the Government's deadline. BT Openreach has bought the electric van sector's leading Vauxhall Vivaro-e in large numbers. The fact is that big companies are more likely to accept the higher initial cost of the EVs in order to reap the benefits of reduced running costs, ULEZ and government grants, and low maintenance. 

The cost of switching to an electric van

The cost of owning an electric van can be significantly less than the diesel and petrol alternatives - even 60% as reported by some large fleets. This is especially the case for small vans. However, it is not the same for large vans, although companies will still benefit from economies of scale when leasing a large van fleet. Some very large purchases were made in 2020, such as Amazon's purchase of 1,800 Mercedes eSprinters and eVitos .

Amazon electric van fleet

The cost of purchasing the electric van is still considered high, even with the Government grant, however, if you operate in London, Bath and other areas wit zero-emissions or low emissions zones, the electric van could save you up to £105 a week. The reduced downtime also goes in favour of the electric vans and we have no doubts that the savings on all-electric LCVs will make any initial cost worthwhile throughout 2021. 

What electric vans can you buy today?

The electric van market has grown in the last year and with new models added this year, we currently have 14 electric van models to choose from. They come in a choice of chassis cabs, fridge vans, car derived vans and even 4.25-tonne vans with a whooping 1,700kg payload. The electric vans ranges have also improved with the WLTP* figures crossing the 200-mile mark on some models. The real-world ranges are yet to be tested and they always depend on several factors, such as payload, outside temperature, style of driving or terrain. What's important, we now have a fully electric van in every LCV category - small, medium and large vans as well as chassis cabs available for specialist conversions, like the electric refrigerated van.

If you're looking to lease an electric van, we have a great selection of electric vans on offer, like the Nissan eNV200Citroen e-Dispatch, Mercedes eVito, Peugeot Expert Electric Van, Renault Kangoo ZE, Renault Master ZE and Vauxhall Vivaro-e

What electric vans are coming next?

PSA Group is currently finishing electrifying their van fleet with the Citroen e-Relay and Peugeot e-Boxer coming in the second quarter of 2021 and the Citroen e-Berlingo in late 2021. If PSA manages to get the Peugeot Partner and Vauxhall Combo to the market by the end of 2021, they will have their electric van fleet completed this year, which would be a great achievement. 

The electric van that's made a lot of noise recently is the revised design of Arrival T2 with many big companies like UPS, John Lewis and Royal Mail testing it out and queuing up for the first models leaving the factory. 

Arrival T2 van

There are rumours that it will be sold with an ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) price tag which sounds pretty exciting, not to mention a decent range, speedy charging, high technology on board and class-leading payloads. 

We can't forget about the Renault Kangoo ZE, which stole the electric van market in 2020. This extremely popular electric van is undergoing some improvements and the revised model should be available in the UK in the summer.  The new Kangoo ZE features a bigger 44kWh battery (previously 33kWh) and a maximum charging power of 75kW. Renault claims a WLTP* range of 159 miles, a full charge from an 11kW wall box in 4.5hr (previously 6hr) and a DC charge from a high-power source from 0% to 80% capacity in 42 minutes. 

The electric van market in 2021 - leasing an electric vehicle

The world of electric vans is growing and improving. With all the models already available and those yet to come, a raising awareness and increasing demand for electric vans, we believe that the electric vehicle sector will see a massive increase this year. Because electric vehicles are so new, many business operators still have doubts if they should enter the world of electric vans just yet. To help you better understand the advantages and disadvantages of switching to an electric van, please refer to our 'Electric van guide - everything you need to know blog.

* WLTP – Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Testing Procedure – Note that this a lab test and will rarely directly correlate with real-world performance, due to the payload, driving style/terrain and outside temperature.

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