By Tom Roberts Date Published 12/7/23
If your line of work involves moving bulky items, heavy loads and pallets of materials, a large van is what you need. With more and more electric large vans coming onto the market, the reality of delivering your loads economically, quietly, and without incurring any charges in the low or zero emission zones is closer than ever. Vanarama Van Expert Tom Roberts presents the best electric large vans available today.
Why Go Electric For A Large Van?
Large vans are the workhorses of the van world - the real heavyweights - capable of taking large, weighty loads the length of the country without breaking a sweat.
Now, with electric vans becoming more commonplace and the driving ranges available from a full charge improving all the time, fleets and small businesses alike are turning to large electric vans. This is due to the practicality and economy offered, not to mention being seen as contributing to making the air that we breathe cleaner and healthier.
Large electric vans (up to 3500kgs GVM) can be driven by most holders of a full car licence, and normally there is no requirement to have a goods vehicle operating licence or, unless towing, to have a tachograph fitted. This means that for most van users, operating a large electric van is little different to running a smaller vehicle. As an electric large van is usually heavier than a diesel one, this would normally mean that it would have a lower payload. Government legislation means that an electric van can have a GVM of up to 4250kgs and, subject to a short driver training course being undertaken, can be operated from a legal perspective as if it had a GVM of 3500kgs. This often means that the electric van can carry at least as much as its diesel sibling - a major tick in their column.
With that out the way, let’s dig into the best electric large vans currently (or soon to be) available.
It’s taken Ford vans a little while to bring an electric large van to market, but the E-Transit was certainly worth the wait. Britain's best-selling large van has been successfully transformed into a market-leading, all-electric powerhouse in more ways than one. The van has an electric motor offered in a choice of two power outputs - even the lower one produces 183hp - but if you opt for the higher-rated unit you’ll have an outstanding 269hp to play with. Thanks to the availability of a 4250kg GVM model, payloads max out at an amazing 1758kg! And there’s not just one size, there are various lengths and heights to choose from meaning your needs are sure to be catered for. A notable feature is the Ford Power Onboard option that allows you to use energy from the battery pack to power ancillary equipment such as tools - especially important for those working away from a mains electricity supply.
Maxus eDeliver 9
The Chinese company that builds Maxus vans is a pioneer in electrifying vans, and the company’s offering in the large van market is up there with the best when it comes to power, range and payloads. That aggressive, bold front grille is the first thing you’ll notice when there’s an eDeliver 9 coming towards you. This large electric van has an official range between charges of up to 185 miles, depending on which of the two battery options you choose, and it can be recharged from a home wallbox in as little as 8.5 hours. A motor rated at 201hp is fitted, so you won’t be short of power when carrying a load of up to 1200kg on that long motorway incline.
Although Fiat is part of the Stellantis group and shares platforms with the likes of Citroen and Peugeot in its van ranges, the Italian company has always tried to make its products unique, and the E-Ducato is no exception - it has a completely different electric powertrain to its siblings. Notably, the van has a bold front design, while under the bonnet there’s a 122hp motor, which is powered by a battery pack of 47kWh or 79kWh, providing official ranges of 91 or 148 miles respectively. Top speed is restricted to 62mph, presumably to optimise that all-important range. Fiat has taken full advantage of the 4250kg GVM dispensation, with the van offering payloads of up to an impressive 1885kg.
Vauxhall Movano Electric / Citroen E-Relay / Peugeot E-Boxer
Here are three electric large vans for the price of one - seriously though, as they are essentially the same van produced by Stellantis group companies I’ve bundled them together. The diesel versions of these vans have a great reputation as no-nonsense load carriers that will take big payloads and large volumes. The vans are ‘electrified’ by an external company, which specialises in converting vehicles to electric power. The 90kW (equivalent to 120hp) electric motor produces a healthy 350Nm of torque and is offered with a 75kWh battery pack in all but the L2 models, which comes with the half-size 37kWh version. Opt for the larger pack and you’ll have an official range of 150 miles - not too shabby. You’ve a choice of three lengths, with the largest having a load volume of 17 cubic metres. As the vans are available at a GVM of 4050kgs, taking advantage of the dispensation means payloads are up to 1100kg.
Mercedes-Benz vans have offered the E-Sprinter for a little while now, but sales have been disappointing as the van has only been available in the fairly short L2 length, and the official range of just 83 miles hasn’t really worked for most potential operators. Responding to criticism, the German manufacturer has announced details of a revised E-Sprinter, which should be available to order in late 2023/early 2024. The new van will be offered in two lengths and you’ll be able to specify either a 56kWh, 81kWh or 113kWh battery pack, replacing the existing 55kWh offering. Either a 136hp or 204hp motor is up for grabs, and with Mercedes-Benz now taking advantage of the government dispensation, a 4250kg GVM E-Sprinter will have a maximum payload of 1575kg. The really big news though is the range between charges - the manufacturer suggests that the official figure will be somewhere around 248 miles, probably the best of any electric van. This van could well raise the bar for all other manufacturers to aim for.
One of the newest entrants to the large electric van market is the Iveco eDaily. The diesel version of this van is especially popular across Europe, where van operators have recognised that the van stands up to hard work, sometimes even abuse, better than other large vans. The eDaily will be available in various sizes and weights, and the 190hp electric motor will be capable of propelling the van to a top speed of 74mph while it chews through its official range of 186 miles in the 4250kg GVM version. Iveco is the first van manufacturer to offer a van with modular batteries. This means that they can be easily removed, replaced, upgraded and refitted should the original or subsequent owner wish - a major innovation that more van manufacturers will no doubt investigate.
Need something smaller? Check out our expert picks for the best medium electric vans you can lease.
Large Electric Van FAQs:
Why Lease A Large Electric Van?
If you’re looking for a new hassle-free way of driving away in a brand new large electric van, leasing could be the perfect option for you. You’ll pay affordable fixed monthly payments with no hidden costs or fees. Find out more about how van leasing works or find unbeatable prices with our large electric van lease deals.
Are Large Electric Vans Reliable?
Electric vans are proving to be extremely reliable. The warranty lengths that manufacturers offer on their large electric vans (with extended cover for the battery pack) demonstrates their confidence that your new large electric van will be trouble-free for years.
Can I Tow With A Large Electric Van?
Some electric vans are approved for towing, but others are not. Always check the vehicle specs before trying to tow. Find out everything you need to know about towing with a van in our comprehensive guide.
How Much Weight Can Large Electric Vans Move?
Some large electric vans can carry more weight than a large diesel van. For example, the Ford E-Transit can carry up to 1758kg, depending on the specification you choose.
What Is The Standard Cargo Space Of A Large Electric Van?
It varies, there’s not really a standard size for electric large vans, but the Vauxhall Movano is a good example vehicle and offers a load volume of up to 17 cubic metres.
For more reviews, insights, comparison and help with choosing your next vehicle take a look at our Van blog. If you’re ready to browse, take a look at our latest van leasing deals or electric van leasing offers.