When VW Commercial asked if I was interested in checking out the new eCrafter, I timed it with needed to move flats. I was nervous about parking, but always managed to find a spot and even parallel parked this behemoth on a busy downtown street here in Berlin. I also lent it to friends who needed to move stuff! It’s surprising how many people I knew needed a work van! On one charge I was able to make 4 trips back and forth to move my flat, only a 5km drive. But two other friends took the car around the city for their moves and I still have 50km left. Of course electric vans are perfect for single trips around the city! But I have to ask does a transporter van like the eCrafter make sense if it’s electric?
Electric vans represent a tiny fraction of overall sales right now, but as concern about environmental pollution grows – especially in city centers – businesses and private buyers are starting to consider or are coming under pressure to adopt e-mobility solutions.
There are many advantages to going electric:
- They’re more eco friendly.
- Running costs are cheaper than diesel, not just in fuel cost but maintenance as well Electric engines have fewer moving parts
buying incentives further reduce costs.
- They run silently, which is nice if you’re doing jobs at late hours.
- Thye’re fun to drive. Electric engines are peppy and responsive, they have higher speeds from stop and have no manual gear box.
- Your business will look socially conscious.
Of course there is a downside, this guy didn’t come with a charge card and finding somewhere to top up that didn’t require a subscription. Which may not be a problem if your vans are returning every night to be charged up. Installing the electric charges is another additional cost. There is of course the charge times, rapid DC charging will get you 80% in 40min, which is much longer than a quick trip to the gas pump.
- If you’re buying used, you’ll have to worry about the battery loosing performance overtime.
- The value of the van will also drop faster than a diesel counterpart due to the uncertainty of the electric market.
I saved the best for last with range anxiety. The eCrafter has a 116km range, more than enough for city driving. Especially if your vans have set routes and known distances, having a specific geography you operate in and knowing the average daily kilometre count is really key to knowing if going electric is a good fit. If you’re doing long distances, the charging infrastructure may limited and charge times driving down the efficiency of your workforce.
The eCrafter is really for the last mile of delivery, but knowing how many miles you’re driving a day will be key to understanding if going electric is the right move for your business.