Range anxiety – possibly the one single thing that is preventing a faster uptake of purely electric vehicles. But, with increasing ranges between charges being available from the current crop of electric vans, could these concerns soon be a thing of the past? Vanarama’s Van Expert Tim Cattlin looks at how practical it might be to take a van from one capital city to another, and back again.
So, as a courier based in Edinburgh, you’ve taken the plunge and leased a fully electric Vivaro-e. You’ve contracts with a handful of customers and they all have one thing in common – the furthest you have to travel for them from base is around 50 miles. With the Vivaro-e having one of the best ranges available for an electric panel van there seemed little reason not to go for this greener option. That’s until the day one client asked you to deliver an important consignment to central London...
Long Distance On A 50kw Battery?
As you never anticipated that you’d have to travel long distances, you specified the Vivaro-e with the smaller, 50kw battery. Fine under normal circumstances, but the WLTP official range of 143 miles won’t get you to your destination without some stops to recharge. Bearing in mind that your load to London is 2 pallets containing refrigeration equipment for a new restaurant with a total weight of just under 1 tonne, it’s unlikely that you’ll achieve that mileage on a single charge. We’re going to assume a ‘real world’ range of around 114 miles.
Your route from your industrial unit in the Newbridge area of the city to your destination close to Waterloo takes you on the A74, M6, M40 and A1M, then into the city via the A40. The total distance is 414 miles. As you don’t want to worry too much about running out of charge we’re not going to allow the battery to go lower than 10% of its capacity, meaning that the furthest you can travel between charges is 102 miles. However, as most public rapid chargers only top your battery up to 80% of capacity, not all the way to the top, apart from the first leg of your journey you will only have a maximum of 80 miles between charges.
Charge Points On The Route
Charge Stop 1: So, with an early start you set off on your long journey. It’s not too long before you’re feeling peckish and, after 97 miles and with your battery down to 15% of capacity you pull off the motorway and head for the Toby Carvery at Carlisle for some breakfast, which just so happens to have a BP Pulse charger in the car park.
Charge Stop 2: Looming in the distance is the distinctive sight of Lancaster Services on the M6. After the last 72 miles you’re now down to 18% charge so time for a coffee and another top up at the Gridserve Electric chargepoint.
Charge Stop 3: Keele Services near Stoke-on –Trent is the next stop – you’ve covered another 77 miles and have 13% of charge remaining. Time for lunch whilst the Vivaro-e gets its 80% top-up at the Ecotricity facility there.
Charge Stop 4: You’ve added 77 miles to your journey and are now down to 13% of battery capacity. You’re well south of Coventry and it’s time for an afternoon stop at the Welcome Break Warwick service area and another Ecotricity public chargepoint.
Charge point 5: Close, but not quite close enough. With just 11 miles to your destination you’re down to 11% charge having covered another 79 miles so, you need to stop for a final time at the ESB Energy facility on the A40 Western Avenue.
You finally arrive at your destination, still with 71% of charge remaining. You’ve chosen a hotel for the night that has a conventional, rather than rapid charger, so you’ll start the return journey with 100% of charge to get you going.
Driving time for this route is estimated at 7 hours, 41 minutes. Rapid charges take from 35 minutes to 1 hour 10 minutes depending on the charge rate available. If we average each stop to be an hour (including potential wait times), this adds 5 hours, making a total journey time of almost 13 hours.
To compare with a trip in a diesel Vivaro, there would be at least 1 fuel stop en route, and perhaps 3 driver rest breaks adding, say 2 hours to the driving time making a total of around 10 hours, saving 3 compared to the Vivaro-e.
Fuel cost? Using industry guides, the Vivaro-e would use around £50’s worth of electricity for the journey. If we reckon the diesel Vivaro could achieve 38mpg on a long but laden journey, at £1.49 per litre the bill for fuel would be £73.69. But, as the destination is within the central London ULEZ and congestion charge zones the electric Vivaro-e would be exempt from all charges.
So, for occasional long distance trips, the Vivaro-e is up to the job and will do it with less damage to the drivers wallet than there would be if you had used the diesel van. Allowance would need to be taken into account for driver’s time and the inconvenience caused though.
If you’re looking to update to hybrid, or electric check out the latest lease deals at Vanarama.