Top tips for tradesmen

Electric vans: to buy or not to buy?

If You’re In a Trade Don’t Get An Electric Van Until You Have Read This Post!

Let’s be honest here, the idea of driving around in an electric van sounds about as sexy as grandma’s crochet club. But are we really giving them a fair shot? Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of using an electric van in the trades.    

Electric Van BenefIts 

Ever heard of climate change? One of the biggest benefits of an electric van isn’t even for the driver, but rather for the environment that we seem hell-bent on destroying. I know that often doesn’t appear at the top of most pressing concerns, but if you want your grandchildren to have a planet, you should probably factor it in. 

If you’re looking for reasons that are more present day, there’s plenty of those too. Electric vans are becoming much cheaper to run than their diesel or petrol cousins. Citroen’s Berlingo Electric apparently costs just 2-3p per mile on average – equal to just £2 per 40 miles. They also typically come with lower maintenance costs because they have fewer moving parts and most people would agree that they’re an absolute dream to drive. 

They could also add an image boost to your business. Everybody is talking about climate change right now, this means that in the near future customers will be encouraged by those businesses who seem to be taking an active role in addressing it.

Electric Van Limitations 

Charging is the most obvious limitation of owning an electric van. There are currently over 20,000 charging points across the UK so they’re not exactly few and far between, but for more isolated areas it can be a problem. 

Then you need to think about what kind of charger you find (and no, they’re not all the same). The Nissan e-NV200 van takes 7.5 hours to fully charge from flat using a standard charger, which is fine if you can leave it overnight, but not ideal if you’re in a rush. On the other hand, rapid chargers can fully charge a van in as little as an hour but are much rarer.

The range is another issue that people tend to focus on when thinking about electric vans. Most come with a range of around 100 miles, which will be easy enough for some tradespeople, but not nearly enough for those with a wider catchment of jobs.   

Another limitation at the moment is the initial outlay. These new uber-green vans don’t pump out CO2 but you will pay a premium for them at the moment. While the cost of electric cars and vans has been falling, it’s still not at the point of being comparable to the petrol alternative. 

The last limitation is about stigma. Tradesmen have traditionally been stereotyped as macho, tough guys. This image doesn’t exactly fit with driving around in a virtually silent van that you feel ashamed to be seen in. But let’s be frank here, if you need a roaring diesel-pumping van to feel like a man, then your automobile of choice probably isn’t the biggest problem. Perhaps it time to break free of the tradesman stereotype?     

Electric van Incentives

In case you’ve missed the memo, the government is trying to push the use of electric cars and vans more than ever. Luckily for us, this means that there are some juicy incentives on offer to try and tempt us over to the dark side. 

One of these is the government’s Plug-in Van grant, which works out to up to 20% off the list price (up to a maximum of £8,000). There are also reduced tax rates for both business and private use and you can even get a grant if you want to install workplace chargers.

Another big incentive is the exception that electric vans have in Low Emission Zones. London’s new and expanded Ultra-Low Emission Zone has ruffled a few feathers, but if you’re an electric van owner you can just sail straight through it, so if you’re a central London driver, you are quids in!

Our verdict

Whether an electric van is right for you really depends on your priorities and how long term you can and are willing to think. Electric vans are unquestionably the future and while they might cost you a little more in the short term, the long term savings will easily offset this expenditure.

However, we would encourage that you also take into consideration where you live and the number of charging points close by, additionally consider how much you use the van on a typical day? If you only cover 50 miles every day then an electric van will make perfect sense, but if you travel well over 100 miles daily, it might not be the right choice just yet.   

Question; Is your van secure?

Thieves do not differentiate between electric vans and traditional vans – any van presents an opportunity to a tool thief. As we know, there has been a massive increase in van and tool theft in recent years, one easy way to protect yourself is by installing a van alarm. If paying £30 to protect your livelihood sounds like a good deal, then check out Vanmate now.

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