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Guest post: Power, money and ecology: Will electric vans ever replace the norm?

Peugeot Partner ElectricPeugeot Partner Electric

We don’t know how to put this, but going green is kind of a big deal. With a host of measures being taken up and down the country to get a little bit greener in all aspects of our lives, it’s no surprise to find the automotive industry just as heavily affected by our sudden nationwide pledge to save the world; what with our vehicles exhaustively pumping out endless reams of carbon emissions every time we momentarily consider taking a journey out. Increasingly, there are more and more options for an environmentally friendly alternative, and one such substitute presently getting a good deal press, is the electric vehicle, or EV, as its friends call it.

Of course, the chances are you’ve heard a bit about the EV, you might have heard about how it’s completely tax-less, or about how much money it can save you or even the charging stations that are springing up up and down the country. That said, you may also have heard about their distinct lack of power, their stamina over long distances and even the charge-based pre-planning you need to do before setting off. For a long time, EVs have been considered good only for short, 30 mile round trips and staying close to the city; however a recent This Is Money post identifies that this may no longer be the case. With this in mind, could electric vans ever replace the fleets on our motorways entirely, making for a cleaner, but just as functional Britain?

David Peilow told This Is Money that, after turfing out his Audi A3 in favour of a new electric Vauxhall Ampera, he managed to save £2000 in a matter of months, “and that’s before considering the free road tax and insurance”, he said. The most interesting part?  David isn’t tootling to the shops every now and again; he’s commuting from Winchester to sunny Portsmouth every day – a significant 60 mile trip. With Peilow making these long journeys yet still saving undeniably substantial amounts, does this mean electric is on its way to becoming a real, usable alternative even in the commercial world?

Peugeot certainly seem to think so, as just last month, they released their new 100% electric Partner van derivative. They say that 70% of van drivers’ daily journeys accumulate to just 60 miles, something the electric Partner, at an impressive 106 miles range, will manage easily. With hopes high for electric vehicles in the commercial market, this new release will be a real measure of success thus far the motoring solution.

There are still though, a number of creases that’ll need to be smoothed over before a real electric revolution can occur. For example, should the technology be adopted en masse, a significant overhaul of the electricity network will be required to cope with the entire population suddenly pouring electricity into their vehicles every night. That’s some real wide-scale, heavy duty work that would need to happen and be completed pretty fast for it to be successful.

Still, with renewable energies on the rise, and coal diminishing to a mere 11% of that energy by the time 2020 rolls around, not to mention the incalculably rapid movement of the technology itself and a series of government-backed schemes to get people driving electrically, the future is a bright hazy blue if you squint carefully enough. With the commercial market arguably even more suited to adoption than the consumer market, certainly for those operating within cities, we could well be looking at a greener, cleaner, quieter and cheaper tomorrow in just a few short years.

This article was written by Rob Vicars of Anchor Vans; experts in commercial vehicles and often found on the cusp of the latest, breaking news, green or otherwise!

This Post Has 2 Comments
  1. Since two years from it’s pubblishing I saw this article today! Now, we can finally say that it’s real electric vehicles start to replace the traditional ones. It’s specially thanks to technological research and development if the electric cars now can be as confortables, performing and safe as the “norms”! Today many governments (such as Sweden and Malaysia) fund the development of a electric urban transport network. We are moving to a greener viability each day.

  2. By working in the freightforwarding field, my view is that it is still a bit early to consider EVans a suitable option, at least until the day mileage won’t be a problem anymore. I believe EVans can be a positive back up and they can surely be the best option for certain fields, such as pick ups in restricted areas, or small dedicated deliveries, but at the moment not much more.

    Long-range deliveries, such as international carriage, are still of question for mileage reasons, unless trips are planned and arranged keeping in mind the batteries’ recharge time (which may be linked, for example, to the compulsory driving hours and stops that truckers must comply with – but can they match? I’m not so sure).

    On another side, I do not think EVs can be used for express couriers (DHL, TNT et similia), or at least not for their standard routine: their working plans, usually, consist of repeated stop-and-go pick ups at different locations, and I believe such a driving style would exhaust batteries at a much faster pace then, say, a continuos drive on the same distance. And I’m 120% confident that stopping to recharge the battery is TOTALLY out of question :).

    Of course, this is the thoughts I can share based on the current Italian reality, which may be much different than the States, or Britain, or elsewhere: once batteries’ range will increase significantly, and most importantly a proper recharging network with the chance to quickly fill up batteires is arranged, then the future can be much brighter.

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