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Is going electric the right choice for you? The first generation of electric vans have been designed to operate in urban or suburban areas, where there’s a need to cut emissions and congestion. They are most suited to businesses that have fairly predictable routes or operate within a defined area.

Here are some of the most commonly asked questions about the Mercedes-Benz eVan range and electric vans in general.



Cost

1.Are electric vans more expensive than diesel vans?

Although electric vans are more expensive to buy than conventional vans, the total lifetime cost is lower, for several reasons.

- Electric vans are cheaper to run

It’s cheaper to charge a vehicle with electricity than it is to fill it with fuel.

How much does it cost to charge an electric van?

If you’re charging your van at home it will cost you in the region of £5-£15 for a full charge, depending on the size of the battery in your van and the cost.

An eVito with an annual mileage of 10,000 miles would cost just over £700 a year for fuel, compared to £1,500 for a diesel version.

You can calculate the cost to fully charge your own van by using the formula:

Tariff (e.g. 14p/kWh) * Battery size (e.g. 100kWh) / 100 = Cost to fully charge (e.g. £14).

Charging when you’re out and about can vary depending on where you’re charging. Charge points at shopping centres and supermarkets are often free, while rapid charging at a service station could cost you between 20p and 70p per kwh, with some providers offering monthly charging plans. So an 80% charge for an eVito could cost you in the region of £6-£20.


- Electric vans are cheaper to maintain

As well as being less prone to general wear and tear, electric vans have fewer working parts than conventional vehicles – so there’s less to maintain overall.

Electric vans are also not as hard on their brakes, making them cheaper and easier to maintain.

This means that servicing costs can be lower, with our ServiceCare plans you could get 2 services from as little as £10 a month »

- Government grants lower the cost further

The government Plug-in vehicle grant provides a discount of up to 35% of the cost of your new electric van up to £6,000 – and you also won’t pay for road tax. Business owners can reclaim 75% of the cost of installing up to 20 charging points (up to a maximum of £500 per socket) through the Government’s Workplace Charging Scheme.

The eVito Tourer is classed as a car under this scheme but is not eligible for the grant. To be eligible for the grant, cars must cost less than £35,000. This is the recommended retail price (RRP), and includes VAT and delivery fees. The grant will pay for 35% of the purchase price for these vehicles, up to a maximum of £2,500.

There is also a grant available under the Office for Low Emissions Vehicles (OLEV) Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme, which provides grant funding of up to 75% (capped at £350) towards the cost of installing electric vehicle charge points at domestic properties across the UK.

- You won’t pay congestion charges

As the government looks to reduce the UK’s carbon footprint, they’re endorsing and encouraging the use of electric vehicles, making electric vans exempt from congestion charges across the country. For the London congestion charge, this currently means a saving of £11.50 per day, per vehicle for fully electric vans. That’s over £3,000 a year if you’re driving into London 5 days a week.

2.How much do electric vehicles (EVs) increase your electric bill?

If you’re charging at home you can expect to add the cost above to your energy bill for every time you charge, but don’t forget you’ll be saving significantly more than that by not filling up with Diesel.

3.Are electric vans cheaper to insure?

Although the situation is improving with the adoption of electric vehicles and information being available, it may still cost you more to insure an electric van. This is partially due to the price to buy and replace electric vans, as well as the cost of parts. Some providers offer discounts on premiums for environmentally friendly vehicles.

4.How much does it cost to have an electric charger installed at home?

Installing a home charge point costs in the region of £1,000 but with the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) grant, you could save up to £350.

According to Checkatrade, prices including installation tend to range from (after contributions):

3kW electric car charger: £250 – £500

7kW electric car charger: £450 – £800

You can benefit from a free NewMotion Home Fast Smart charge point and installation worth £549 with the purchase of a new Mercedes-Benz eVan.

The costs for 22kw charge point unit are around £1,500 including installation .

In order to access 22kw charging you will need to have a 3-phase electricity supply in your home. Most homes only have single-phase electricity supplies. To convert your electricity supply you have to apply through your Distribution Network Operator (DNO). Installation of 3-phase power supply can cost between £3,000 and £15,000 .

5.What tax benefits are there for businesses with electric vehicles?

As the government seeks to increase the number of electric vehicles on the roads, it’s putting in place a number of incentives for businesses, including reduced tax bills for drivers, no company car tax for electric vehicles, exemption from Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) and increased rates for capital allowance claims.

6.What sort of finance packages are there for electric vehicles?

Every decision you make for your business needs to make sense financially – and when you’re just getting started with electric, making big purchases can feel risky. At Mercedes-Benz Vans we offer a range of finance options for electric vans. Having the flexibility to lease an electric vehicle is ideal for businesses who are just starting to expand into electric, as it allows customers to trial electric vehicles without being tied into a long term commitment.

7.What is the long term value of an electric van?

All Mercedes-Benz electric vans include an 8-year battery warranty, ensuring that the long-term residual value of the vehicle is protected. Additionally, the entire range shares the same build quality and commitment to precision as conventional models – including guarantees such as the 3-year unlimited vehicle warranty.


Functionality

1.What are electric vans like to drive?

With automatic transmission and quiet engines, electric vans offer a different kind of driving experience with instant acceleration and no gearshifts, making it feel more effortless.

2.How long does it take to charge the battery?

Battery charging times depend on whether the vehicle accepts the faster DC mode of charging – giving an 80% charge in around 40 minutes using rapid public charge points. For vans that operate on AC charging, a typical charge takes between 4-8 hours on a 7kw home charger, which is less of a problem for those who can plan an overnight charge at the depot or home.

3.Where can I charge my eVan?

The amount of charging points are increasing, and more vehicles are being designed to accept DC chargers. We can advise you on your charging infrastructure and can introduce you to partners who can develop and install charging solutions for your home and business.

According to EDF Energy there are now more than 35,000 charge point connectors across the UK in over 13,000 locations - that's more public places to charge than petrol stations, with around 7,000 charge point connectors added in 2020 alone.

4.Are electric vans suitable for long journeys?

Although battery ranges are always improving, electric vans cannot yet travel as far on a single charge as conventional vehicles can on a full tank of fuel. For now, this means that they may not be the best choice for long distance use, although the eVito tourer offers a range up to 221 miles.

5.What happens if your electric van runs out of battery?

It isn’t advised to run your battery completely empty as this may reduce the battery’s long-term performance and cause it to deteriorate. If you do run out of juice you should contact your breakdown provider and request a flatbed truck. Although some electric vehicles can be towed in specific circumstances, there is a high risk of damaging the traction motors if you tow with a rope or lift. If you run out of charge in your Mercedes-Benz eVan then you are covered by MobiloVan during the initial warranty period.
Find out more about MobiloVan »

6.Can you jumpstart an electric van?


Electric vehicles have traditional 12-volt batteries to power features such as windscreen wipers and lights, in addition to enabling the main lithium-ion battery unit to be charged. This means that it is possible to jump start an electric van using a traditional combustion engine vehicle.

Hybrid and Electric vehicles should not be used to jump start other vehicles due to the risk of damage to electrical components and a slower rate of discharging power from the battery. Your vehicle should not be plugged in to charge when jump starting is taking place, as this also risks damaging the expensive on-board electronics.

7.Should I charge my electric van every night?
It isn’t necessary to recharge your van every night, only when you’re low on charge. If you’ve got plenty of range for the next day then you don’t need to worry about charging your van for the sake of it.

8.Do electric vans stop suddenly?

Electric vehicles utilise regenerative braking – the electric motor turns in the opposite direction to turn kinetic energy into electrical charge. This means that every time you take your foot off the accelerator a small amount of charge is returned to the battery. Depending on the vehicle and the level of regeneration selected, lifting off the accelerator can slow the vehicle significantly.

This can be slightly jarring to begin with and like switching from automatic to manual and vice versa, may take a short time to get used to.

9.Are electric vans automatic?

Yes, all electric vans have automatic transmission, they don’t have a risk of stalling so there’s no need for a clutch. This makes for smooth and simple driving.

10.How long does it take to charge an electric van at a public charging station?

The majority of public charging stations offer rapid charging stations with 43 to 100+ kw chargers, meaning you can charge to 80% in 30 minutes to an hours depending on your vehicle.

Fast chargers of 7-22kw like those often found at car parks, supermarkets and leisure centres will charge your vehicle in 1 to 6 hours.

11.Do electric vehicles need oil?

No, EVs do not need oil as their engines don’t have as many moving parts which require lubrication, such as those found in combustion engines.

12.Can you tow with an electric van?

Yes it is possible to tow a trailer with an electric van, however the eVito and eSprinter do not currently support towing.

13.Can I charge more than one electric van at a time?

The answer is yes but you will need to install multiple charging points. The latest technology can make the charging process simpler, for example you can monitor the battery charge status, range and completion of charging of each one of your electric vehicles on your mobile or tablet using the Remote eCharging function of Mercedes PRO connect, which comes free for 2 years when you purchase a Mercedes-Benz electric van.

14.How long does it take to charge an electric van?

On a dedicated electric charge point, which you can have installed at work or home through a specialist provider, it will take about 4 hours. And at a public charge point, using a DC rapid charger, you can get an 80% charge in 30-40 minutes. At home, on a normal 3-pin plug, it will take around 8 hours to fully charge your electric van.

15.What is the difference between AC and DC charging?

Electric batteries can be charged with two kinds of power – alternating current (AC), and direct current (DC). AC power comes from the national grid and is the most common charging method for electric vehicles of all sizes. However, an AC charge needs to be converted into DC charge before the battery can store the power, so it needs to go through a converter inside the vehicle first. DC chargers, on the other hand, are more powerful and provide a much faster, more constant charge

16.Can I charge an electric van using a public charging point?

Public charging points are suitable for electric vans and are a useful way of topping up when you’re out on the move. Our electric vans come with free Mercedes PRO connect software that enables you to locate the most convenient charging stations on your route, optimising your battery range.

17.Do eVans have less load capacity?

Although most electric vans store their batteries in the underbody to allow for maximum loading space, electric technology is still heavy, so the government now allows electric van drivers with standard car licenses to carry payloads up to 4.5 tonnes (as opposed to 3.5 tonnes for diesel or petrol). Effectively this has balanced out the weight issue between electric and non-electric vans.

18.How long will the battery last?

As the technology is new, you may have concerns about how much charge the batteries will hold after a few years. This is why all Mercedes-Benz electric vans come with an 8-year or 100,000 mile battery warranty, guaranteeing at least 70% capacity after 8 years.

The batteries of electric vans are generally stored in the underbody of the vehicle, so there’s nothing taking up space inside.



Sustainability & Environment

1. Are electric vehicles better for the environment?

Electric vehicles don’t require the combustion of fuel to turn the energy in their batteries into movement (kinetic energy), instead the lithium-ion batteries release energy electrochemically.

This means that electric vans don’t produce any harmful emissions while driving and don’t have an exhaust pipe. This reduction in the emission of gases such as carbon dioxide helps to reduce air pollution, especially in built-up areas such as towns and cities.

As well as reducing air pollution it also helps to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases being released into the atmosphere which are contributing to climate change.

However, environmental impact also needs to take into the lifetime emissions of the vehicle, including production, maintenance and fuel. The production of electricity still partly relies on fossil fuels in most countries on earth, so charging your electric van does have an impact.

Despite this, a 2020 study by the universities of Exeter, Nijmegen and Cambridge concluded that electric vehicles lead to lower emissions overall and it is better for the environment to drive an electric vehicle than conventional vehicles in 95% of the world.

2.Are electric car batteries sustainable?

The batteries in electric vehicles are lithium-ion, with around 10kg of lithium per EV. There is ongoing debate about the true impact of lithium production, as it is a very water-intensive process that involves hazardous chemicals. There is evidence that lithium mining can contribute to environmental degradation in the areas in which it is sourced.

Research is ongoing to explore alternatives to lithium, including sodium, which is significantly cheaper, more abundant and less resource-intensive, as well as hydrogen and sulphur.


3.What happens to the battery once it is used up?


Once their capacity to power an eVan is diminished, used batteries are recycled, often become second-use battery storage units, enjoying a new life outside the vehicle.

Mercedes-Benz operates an energy division, offering procurement and distribution of 2nd-life batteries, battery modules and battery control components as well as consultation for energy storage systems.

Applications

1.What sort of businesses are electric vans good for?

Currently, most electric vans are ideal for businesses who operate in cities, typically transport light loads or make ‘last mile’ deliveries, and have the ability to charge their vans overnight. However, many larger fleet operators and customers such as Travelodge are now introducing electric vans as a percentage of their fleet, to cover local routes and transfer employees from place to place.

As infrastructures improve and technology develops, it is likely that almost every business will have electric vans making up some part of their fleet. Some forward thinking small-to-medium sized businesses such as North London Recycler First Mile have also began to introduce electric vans.

2.Are electric vans suitable for shuttle services and mini-buses?

Electric vans hold great promise for mini-bus services like airport transports and urban shuttles. The Mercedes-Benz eVito Tourer is the ideal choice with seating capacity for up to 8+1 people and an impressive 221 mile range.



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