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 vast majority offer a range of at least 100 miles, and many now offer 300 miles and above. Range extended electric vehicles are less common these days, but existing models can have a range up to 300 miles. Plug-in hybrid vehicles can achieve even more than battery or range extended electric vehicles (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 £350 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 charge points only take a few hours to install and government funding of £350 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 40 charge points per company (capped at £350 per charge point).

Finally, electric vehicles can be charged at public charge points. There are over 18,000 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. 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). 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.

Van and HGV drivers

If you are looking for a new van, there are over 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. See the table below for the all the electric van options available and coming soon, plus some key information on range and payload.

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 years – there are now around 15 battery electric truck models at various stages of development, from company announcements to trials. These cover a range of sizes up to 37t.

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 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 Type

On The Market

Official Range

Hackney Carriage Taxi

LEVC TX5 (petrol range extender)

Electric: 64 miles

Petrol extended: 377 miles

Nissan Dynamo Electric: 170 miles

Vehicle Type

Electric options on the market (100% electric unless stated)

Range & Payload

Coming soon (100% electric unless stated)

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)

Range: 62 – 174 miles

(221 miles extended range)

Payload: 225 – 705 kg

Volkswagen eCaddy Rivian R1T 180kWh

Standard panel vans

GVW: 2.5 - 3.2t

BD Auto eTraffic

Mercedes-Benz eVito

Range: 99 miles

Payload: 790 kg

Ford Custom (petrol range extender)

LEVC electric van (petrol range extender)

Volkswagen eTransporter

LDV e-Deliver 3

Large panel vans

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

BD Auto eDucato

Iveco Daily Electric

LDV EV80

Renault Master Z.E.

Range: 74 – 129 miles

Payload: 821 – 1,541 kg

Mercedes-Benz eSprinter

VW eCrafter

Fiat Ducato Electric

Citroen e-Relay

Vauxhall eVivaro

Peugeot Boxer Electric

Small trucks

GVW: 7.5t

Paneltex Z75

FUSO eCanter

Range: up to 130 miles

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