Electric Vehicles

There are several types of electric vehicle that offer a range of driver benefits and could be suitable for your business

Plug-in electric vehicles are capable of driving using mains electricity. A battery is charged which powers a motor and propels the vehicle. There are three main types of plug-in electric vehicle:

Battery electric vehicles are driven solely using mains electricity - there is no internal combustion engine and as a result there are zero tailpipe emissions.
Range extended electric vehicles are much like battery electric vehicles but have a small internal combustion engine which is on hand to recharge the battery when required. It is always the electric motor that powers the vehicle.
Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles have an electric motor and internal combustion engine that work together – both can power the vehicle. The battery is smaller than in the above technologies and is typically used for starting the car and driving at low speeds.

People often voice concerns about the achievable driving distances of battery electric vehicles but these days the majority offer a range of around 100 miles, with many being capable of a lot more. Range extended electric vehicles can have a range up to 300 miles and plug-in hybrid vehicles can achieve even more than this (the range using only electricity is generally around 30 miles).

The use of internal combustion engines in range extended electric vehicles increases the exhaust emissions, but they are still well below that of a petrol or diesel model. Plug-in electric vehicles also have lower emissions than a conventional vehicle but more than the other plug-in electric technologies as they use the battery power less. 

Home-charging points only take a few hours to install and government funding of £500 can be accessed to help with the cost.

Charging a plug-in electric vehicle is cheaper than refuelling a diesel or petrol vehicle because of the relative price of electricity. This makes battery electric vehicles, which use 100% electricity, the cheapest electric vehicle to run.
The most convenient and cost-effective way to charge a plug-in electric vehicle is overnight at home. This makes use of the cheaper off-peak electricity offered by energy companies and means that your vehicle is ready for use in the morning. Home-charging points only take a few hours to install and government funding of £500 can be accessed to help with the cost.

Electric vehicles can also be charged at work or a fleet depot. To help increase the number of employers that offer this, the government has set up a Workplace Charging Scheme to support companies in paying for charge point installations. The funding covers 75% of the cost of up to 20 charge points per company (capped at £500 per charge point).

Finally, electric vehicles can be charged at public charge points. There are over 16,500 of these in the UK and they are found on high streets, residential roads, at shopping centres, car parks and many more locations.

To find out more about charging electric vehicles, average charging times and where you can find charge points in Birmingham, click here.

Unlike petrol and diesel engines, the components required to power a vehicle in electric mode are simple and have few moving parts. This means that less maintenance is required, and servicing is easier, which helps to make battery electric vehicles the cheapest technology to run. 
Taxi drivers

If you are looking for a Hackney carriage the two options are the LEVC TX5 range extended electric vehicle, and the Nissan Dynamo battery electric vehicle (due to be released this year). The table below shows some key information for these Hackney carriage options.

For private hire vehicle owners there are many more options available and various car types to choose from. These include battery electric vehicles such as the Hyundai KONA Electric (crossover SUV) and Nissan e-NV200 (7-seater passenger van) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles such as the Toyota Prius Plug-in (5-door hatchback) and Kia Niro PHEV (crossover SUV). To see a comprehensive list of the electric vehicles that would be suitable for you, see the Electric Vehicle Selector produced by Go Ultra Low.

If you typically procure your cars through leasing contracts there are several plug-in electric options including the Nissan Leaf.

Van and HGV drivers

If you are looking for a new van, there are around ten battery electric options on the market and more will be released in the future. These vans include small and large car-derived, standard panel and large panel models. The range extended electric vehicle options are the Ford Transit Custom, due for release in the near future and the van from LEVC, due for release in 2019. See the table below for the all the electric van options available and some key information on range and payload.

If you typically procure your vans through leasing contracts there are several plug-in electric options including the Nissan e-NV200 and Renault Kangoo Z.E.

If you are looking for a new HGV there are some smaller battery electric trucks available, but only small volumes of these exist. This is expected to change in the coming 18 months.

Coach drivers

If you are looking to purchase a new coach, there is an increasing number of plug-in electric models being developed. A London based company has ordered the UK’s first electric coach in January 2019 – opting for the Yutong TCe12 (48 passengers, 200-mile range). Volvo also manufactures a fully electric coach (83 passengers, 125-mile range).

Vehicle and Type

Manufacturers and Models

Typical Power & Range

Hackney Carriage Taxi

LEVC TX5 (petrol range extender)

Electric: 64 miles

Petrol extended: 377 miles

Nissan Dynamo (coming soon) Electric: 170 miles

Vehicle and Type

Manufacturers and Models

Typical Power & Range

Car derived vans

GVW: < 2.5t

BD Auto eDoblo

BD Auto eFlorino

BD Auto eKangoo

Citroen Berlingo Electric

Nissan eNV200

Peugeot Partner

Renault Kangoo ZE

Renault Kangoo ZE H2 (hydrogen ranger extender)

VW ABT e-Caddy (coming soon)

Range: 62 – 174 miles

(221 miles extended range)

Payload: 225 – 705 kg

Standard panel vans

GVW: 2.5 - 3.2t

BD Auto eTraffic

Ford Custom (petrol range extender) (coming soon)

LEVC electric van (petrol range extender) (coming soon)

Mercedes-Benz eVito (coming soon)

VW ABT-Transporter (coming soon)

Range: 99 miles

Payload: 790 kg

Large panel vans

GVW: 3.5t (4.2t allowed for electric versions)

BD Auto eDucato

Iveco Daily Electric


Renault Master Z.E.

Mercedes-Benz eSprinter (coming soon)

VW eCrafter (coming soon)

Range: 99 miles

Payload: 790 kg

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