Electric van trials are being carried out in Germany in order to test whether an electric van can deal with the strain that can be put on vans each and every day. Daimler, the parent firm of Mercedes-Benz has been testing a hundred electric versions of the Vito commercial vehicle. The vans have now covered over 400,000 miles as part of a four year trial that began in the autumn of 2010. The results, thus far, look very positive indeed.
What do you think about electric vans?
The electric vans have been put through vigorous tests as they have been used for a variety of jobs including courier work, service vehicles for plant maintenance, customer service jobs and assembly and internal transport within companies.
Furthermore, the drivers have reported that they are finding that the vehicles can easily handle whatever is thrown at them, and the concerns about the battery life have somewhat reduced. The vehicles have proved that they are capable of covering 50 miles on a full charge, which in most cases is satisfactory. So, for those inner city jobs where you only have to drive a few miles at a time, an electric van could indeed be perfect for a day’s work.
Van drivers, what do you think? Would you like to glide around the city in an electric van? Or is a range of 50 miles just not good enough for you?
The electric Vito van will develop 60kW, with a peak torque figure of 280Nm, and the van will also be front wheel drive. The top speed is very limited; the vans will do just 55mph in order to maximise the battery range. So these vans really are just for inner city roads!
The vans will also be able to be charged at a main voltage of 380/400V and it is a process that will take up to a maximum of six hours. So the idea really does seem to be that the van will be plugged in overnight after a long days work. The vans are also likely to reduce an owner’s commercial van insurance, which will be very beneficial to all owners and businesses that will use the vans.
Faults and Worries
Whilst the German trials are seemingly going well, and whilst the drivers have reported that they are pleased with the vehicles, I do have some reservations regarding the electric vans. What if there is a power cut during the charging process and you wake up in the morning to a van that has no charge in the battery? Or, what if you need to go further than 50 miles every now and then? Nobody likes to turn down a job, but if you have to turn down a job because you are nearly out of battery life it will be very frustrating!
Maybe these concerns are very premature, and maybe they are totally unjustified. It will be interesting to get your thoughts regarding electric vans!