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Electric commercial vehicles -
Vans in urban centers


We explain the different variants.

High levels of particulate matter and increased traffic are putting a strain on cities. More and more municipalities are restructuring urban traffic conditions: widened cycle paths, more green spaces, special lanes for special traffic and at the same time driving ban zones for combustion vehicles. But uncomplicated mobility in cities is vitally important, especially for suppliers and commercial workers. Therefore, traders are looking for alternatives. Electric commercial vehicles are an ideal addition to the company's own fleet.

In the past, delivery vehicles in the city and surrounding areas were diesel-powered, heavy and drove many kilometers a day in inner-city stop-and-go traffic. When it comes to the environment and air quality, they have one of the worst records on the road after trucks. This has been changing for a few years now, and here we show what transformation can be seen in the electric van segment for delivery traffic.

The requirements for the transport of goods include the challenges of increasingly fast, timely delivery of consignments of goods. Just-in-time delivery to commercial delivery customers, which essentially results in “street warehousing”. In addition, we are recording a significant increase in traffic costs due to specialization, division of labor and globalization in manufacturing and industry. These effects affect transport companies, who also suffer from a lack of drivers, rising costs and other risks.

As in the car market, electric vans promise an environmentally friendly alternative. With electric vans, lower traffic noise levels and lower air pollution can be achieved, especially in the area of urban mobility. But an electric van, electric panel van or delivery van with an electric drive not only ensures a good ecological conscience. Electrically powered commercial vehicles allow companies to save money, avoid potentially impending driving bans and pay less taxes.

We present the advantages and disadvantages of e-vans and explain some of the most important alternatives to diesel vehicles and where these vehicles are used.

Advantages and disadvantages of an electric van

The diesel scandals of recent years have resulted, among other things, in driving bans for diesel vehicles in certain urban areas. This mainly affects inner cities. This makes work difficult - especially for service companies that drive to customers in a van. This can become a big problem in the future if, for example, an old van is suddenly no longer allowed to drive and diesel ban zones are expanded. Of course, such prohibited zones do not apply to an electric van.

Furthermore areElectrovehicleswait significantly less often. This is not least because ine-motors Fewer parts are installed because many of the mechanisms required for combustion engines are eliminated, such as the exhaust. As a result, an electric vehicle reduces the costs incurred for maintenance and repairs (and the indirect costs caused by the vehicle breaking down). An electric van is particularly worthwhile for companies because electricity is comparably cheap for business customers.

Another advantage of an e-transporter is the current tax advantages and subsidies. The governments in European countries, but also those responsible in cities and municipalities, are creating the conditions. Even if it doesn't make a difference: electric cars simply drive better. Anyone who sits in a van for hours every day for work will be happy about less noise and smoother acceleration when starting off.

What weaknesses do vans with electric drives still have?

The range of electric vans was still relatively short until last year. But most e-vans can now travel more than 400 kilometersRange with a load. This is completely sufficient, for example, to deliver packages or attend customer appointments in a big city for a day. An example of this is the popular Mercedes-Benz eVito Tourer. With its up to nine seats, the electric van is ideal for transporting people (for example as a hotel vehicle) and has a range of 421 kilometers with its electric drive with 150 kW of power.

The charging infrastructure for the company's vans is more difficult. As soon as the fleet of electric vans includes several vehicles, comprehensive planning for the electric charging options must be carried out. The manufacturers of e-vans such as Mercedes-Benz, Renault or MAN have theCharging infrastructuresWe have our own in-house consultants who talk specifically to fleet customers about their requirements.

Finally, vans with electric drives generally cost more to purchase than diesel vans. However, the high purchase price should be seen more as an investment, as the lower operating costs and tax advantages make up for the purchase price in the medium to long term.

So it can be summarized that an electric van is particularly worthwhile if the area to be driven is in a larger city.

The most common electric vans on our roads

All manufacturers of vans and delivery vans now have electric vans in their fleet for use by their customers. Below we list some of the e-vans that are already available today, with areas of application ranging from small craft businesses to commercial vehicle fleets comprising several hundred vehicles.

The eSprinter from Daimler / Mercedes-Benz celebrated its debut at the end of 2019 and adds a locally emission-free model for delivery traffic to the iconic commercial vehicle produced in Düsseldorf. This made the eSprinter one of the first electric transporters that was available to fleets in large numbers. For commercial vehicle decision-makers, the criteria that apply to their emergency vehicles are economical, reliable and flexible. Because they have to distribute their customers' desired goods, visit construction sites or carry out service work 52 weeks a year.

But other manufacturers have now followed suit. This is certainly also due to the fact that cities across Europe are gradually banning vans with diesel engines from their centers. The Ford E-Transit has been expanding the electric transporters in the large Transit since the beginning of 2022, the very popular Renault Master E-Tech relies on the R75E engine adapted from the Zoe with a maximum output of 57 kW. Also from France, the trio Peugeot e-Partner, Citroën e-Berlingo/ and Opel Combo-e Cargo are launching three battery-electric variants for cargo use on the market in time for the 2022 model year. To mark the 40th birthday of the Ducato, the Italian Fiat presented the electrified version of its transporter. As part of the merger of the FCA Group with PSA, the Peugeot e-Boxer, Citroën e-Jumper and Opel Movano-e will follow in 2022.

What does the future of e-vans look like?

We are already seeing electric vans more often on the streets of our cities. As sales figures increase, the prices for electric vans fall and with more and more charging stations, the attractiveness of them increasesenvironmentally friendly transport alternative. The increasing number of e-vans is already being used todayFastcharging stationsin the cities and on the highways. Electric small vans in particular will become increasingly popular. We can also assume that the range of electric vehicles will exceed 600 kilometers in the medium term. The feasibility of courier trips across the country with e-vans is now within reach.

But which vehicles come into consideration? We introduce the common manufacturers:

Addax Motors builds electric vehicles that are flexible and fully customizable to the user's needs. Sustainability is very important to the company, so production in Belgium is carried out according to high quality criteria.

Alke is an Italian company that produces electric commercial vehicles for the industrial sector. Whether ambulance transport, transporters for logistics, construction or waste disposal: the areas of application of Italian e-commercial vehicles are diverse.

ARI Motors is a young company from Leipzig. The automobile brand specializes in electric vehicles and light electric vehicles. The e-commercial vehicles on offer range from cargo mopeds to three-wheeled food trucks or flatbed trucks to e-cargo transporters with a top speed of 100 km/h.

Citkarbuilds ine-Cargo bike with modular structures such as cool boxes or transport structures. This is possible in an open or closed design. The usage options can also be expanded using trailer hitches. In June 2023, Citkar was acquired by the automotive supplierMubeaaccepted.

ONOMOTIONfrom Berlin focuses on the CEP market, i.e. courier, express and parcel services. There are already pilot projects here with e.g. B. Hermes as a shipping service provider. Through constant further development of the vehicles, ONOMOTION manages to cover all city logistics needs. The e-Cargo Bike ONO is the solution for sustainable goods management in the city, which "Last mile".

Rivian electric van are already being used by Amazon in the USA. The number of cities in which the Rivian EDV (Electric Delivery Van) operates is expected to grow to 100 by the end of the year.

Well-known manufacturers are also offering more and more variants of their panel vans with electric motors, such as Renault with the Kangoo Rapid E-Tech or Toyota with the Proace Electric. Even in the truck segment there are purely electrically powered vehicles. The 7.5-ton BAX electric truck offers a total of 3 tons of payload and promises a range of around 200 km.

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