Researching a Vehicle

Hybrid and Electric Vans

Paul Green, National Remarketing Manager
Wednesday, 13 July 2022

A hybrid van runs the same as a hybrid car, and the same goes for an electric van, it runs just like an electric car. The difference between the 2 is solely by the way in which they are powered. A hybrid van will switch between electric and a blend of petrol and electric power where an electric van would be powered purely by a battery. To help you make an informed decision on whether a hybrid or electric van is right for you, we’ve pulled together this comprehensive guide. 

A hybrid van runs the same as a hybrid car, and the same goes for an electric van, it runs just like an electric car. The difference between the 2 is solely by the way in which they are powered. A hybrid van will switch between electric and a blend of petrol and electric power where an electric van would be powered purely by a battery. 

To help you make an informed decision on whether a hybrid or electric van is right for you, we’ve pulled together this comprehensive guide. 

In this guide:

Why buy a hybrid van?

Hybrid vans are a good first step into lower fuel consumption vehicles. It allows you to travel the distances needed whilst also reducing emissions. You don’t have to compromise on the useability or range of the van.

Why buy a hybrid van?

Hybrid vans are a good first step into lower fuel consumption vehicles. It allows you to travel the distances needed whilst also reducing emissions. You don’t have to compromise on the useability or range of the van.

If you are buying a used Hybrid van, then you may find 2 different options that are available to you. These are mild hybrids and plug-in hybrids. From 2030 the UK government will ban the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles which includes mild-hybrid vehicles, but certain plug-in hybrids will still remain on sale until 2035. This only applies to new vehicles and therefore you will see a lot of diesel, and mild hybrids around for several years afterwards.

As we still have many years before these changes take place, then a hybrid van is still a safe bet if it’s something you are interested in. If you are wanting to keep your van for longer and are set on a hybrid then consider a plug-in hybrid to give you that extra few years.

Hybrid van parked up

If you are buying a used Hybrid van, then you may find 2 different options that are available to you. These are mild hybrids and plug-in hybrids. From 2030 the UK government will ban the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles which includes mild-hybrid vehicles, but certain plug-in hybrids will still remain on sale until 2035. This only applies to new vehicles and therefore you will see a lot of diesel, and mild hybrids around for several years afterwards.

As we still have many years before these changes take place, then a hybrid van is still a safe bet if it’s something you are interested in. If you are wanting to keep your van for longer and are set on a hybrid then consider a plug-in hybrid to give you that extra few years.

Hybrid van parked up

But are hybrid vans cheaper to run? So, although hybrids will have an initially higher price, they can save you a lot of money on fuel costs and in clean air zones like the ULEZ in London. If you are wanting a hybrid van that is exempt of vehicle tax, make sure they were registered before 31 March 2017 and that they emit less than 100g/km of CO2. Any hybrid vehicle registered after this date will have to pay vehicle tax like any other petrol or diesel vehicle. Although vehicle tax is based off emissions, so a hybrid vehicle’s tax will be less.

But are hybrid vans cheaper to run? So, although hybrids will have an initially higher price, they can save you a lot of money on fuel costs and in clean air zones like the ULEZ in London. If you are wanting a hybrid van that is exempt of vehicle tax, make sure they were registered before 31 March 2017 and that they emit less than 100g/km of CO2. Any hybrid vehicle registered after this date will have to pay vehicle tax like any other petrol or diesel vehicle. Although vehicle tax is based off emissions, so a hybrid vehicle’s tax will be less.

Why buy an electric van?

Electric vans don’t produce any CO2 or NOx emissions, which means they don’t impact the environment. If the energy to charge them comes from a renewable source, then they are the cleanest vehicles to drive.

When electric vans first came out, there wasn’t great uptake as the ranges were low, batteries took up valuable storage space and the large amounts of downtime to charge them meant that the drivers were unable to work or get from a to b. However this has changed with many new vans stating they offer a range of between 100-220 miles, meaning they are a viable option for your daily work and lives.

Why buy an electric van?

Electric vans don’t produce any CO2 or NOx emissions, which means they don’t impact the environment. If the energy to charge them comes from a renewable source, then they are the cleanest vehicles to drive.

When electric vans first came out, there wasn’t great uptake as the ranges were low, batteries took up valuable storage space and the large amounts of downtime to charge them meant that the drivers were unable to work or get from a to b. However this has changed with many new vans stating they offer a range of between 100-220 miles, meaning they are a viable option for your daily work and lives.

Electric van parked up

But the real question is, are electric vans cheaper to run? According to WhatCar an electric van costs 80% less than a diesel alternative when comparing basic running costs including fuel and insurance. In terms of maintenance costs there are fewer physical moving parts in the way the engine works which therefore reduces these costs. Electric vehicles use regenerative braking to recharge their battery. It also slows the vehicle down noticeably when you take your foot off the accelerator, which means less use of your brakes, which in turn keeps your brake pads and brake discs in a better condition for longer.

Although an electric van may have a more pricey upfront cost, it is considerably cheaper to run and maintain. 

Electric van parked up

But the real question is, are electric vans cheaper to run? According to WhatCar an electric van costs 80% less than a diesel alternative when comparing basic running costs including fuel and insurance. In terms of maintenance costs there are fewer physical moving parts in the way the engine works which therefore reduces these costs. Electric vehicles use regenerative braking to recharge their battery. It also slows the vehicle down noticeably when you take your foot off the accelerator, which means less use of your brakes, which in turn keeps your brake pads and brake discs in a better condition for longer.

Although an electric van may have a more pricey upfront cost, it is considerably cheaper to run and maintain. 

Hybrid van range

Looking at vans currently on the market, there appears to be a pure electric range of between 26-61 miles in a hybrid van, before they start using petrol for fuel. It can take anywhere between 1.5-3 hours to charge a hybrid van depending on what power charger you are using. Although this range won’t allow you to travel far on just electric, it will help reduce fuel costs, whilst still giving you the ability to drive freely without the worry of charging your vehicle.

Depending on what sort of driving you are doing in your van, this range might be enough to get you from your jobs to home every day, whilst still giving you peace of mind for those longer journeys.

Hybrid van range

Looking at vans currently on the market, there appears to be a pure electric range of between 26-61 miles in a hybrid van, before they start using petrol for fuel. It can take anywhere between 1.5-3 hours to charge a hybrid van depending on what power charger you are using. Although this range won’t allow you to travel far on just electric, it will help reduce fuel costs, whilst still giving you the ability to drive freely without the worry of charging your vehicle.

Depending on what sort of driving you are doing in your van, this range might be enough to get you from your jobs to home every day, whilst still giving you peace of mind for those longer journeys.

Electric van range

Unlike hybrid vans, electric vans run entirely on electric charge which makes the range even more important in deciding whether an electric van is right for you. According to AutoExpress the majority of electric vans on the market stat that their range is between 100-220 miles.

Electric van range

Unlike hybrid vans, electric vans run entirely on electric charge which makes the range even more important in deciding whether an electric van is right for you. According to AutoExpress the majority of electric vans on the market stat that their range is between 100-220 miles.

But how long does it take to charge an electric van? Well, depending on what sort of charger you have it can take anywhere from 0.5-12 hours. If you are using a charging point at home or at an office this can take 4-8 hours, while charging a flat battery just using a 3 pin plug socket can take around 12 hours. More fast charging points are becoming more common up and down the country in places like motorway service stations and supermarkets, which depending on your vans charging system, can offer an 80% charge in half an hour.

To really determine whether you could consider an electric van, then try and monitor how many miles you do on an average day and if it’s less than 100 miles an electric van might just be right you. If you also do a route regularly where you know has a fast-charging point, then this could also be an option.

Electric van being charged

But how long does it take to charge an electric van? Well, depending on what sort of charger you have it can take anywhere from 0.5-12 hours. If you are using a charging point at home or at an office this can take 4-8 hours, while charging a flat battery just using a 3 pin plug socket can take around 12 hours. More fast charging points are becoming more common up and down the country in places like motorway service stations and supermarkets, which depending on your vans charging system, can offer an 80% charge in half an hour.

To really determine whether you could consider an electric van, then try and monitor how many miles you do on an average day and if it’s less than 100 miles an electric van might just be right you. If you also do a route regularly where you know has a fast-charging point, then this could also be an option.

Electric van being charged

If you decide on an electric van, then you may be interested to know that the government are offering grants to those who buy small and large electric vans. For a small van the grant will pay 35% of the purchase price up to a maximum value of £2,500, and for large vans the government will pay 35% of the purchase price up to a maximum of £5,000. The only caveat is that they must be certain makes of models of electric van that are approved by the government. To see which vans would be accepted you can look on the gov.uk website. You do not need to do anything to get this grant, as the dealer will include the value of the grant in the vehicle’s price. Just be sure to ask about it next time you take a test drive. 

If you decide on an electric van, then you may be interested to know that the government are offering grants to those who buy small and large electric vans. For a small van the grant will pay 35% of the purchase price up to a maximum value of £2,500, and for large vans the government will pay 35% of the purchase price up to a maximum of £5,000. The only caveat is that they must be certain makes of models of electric van that are approved by the government. To see which vans would be accepted you can look on the gov.uk website. You do not need to do anything to get this grant, as the dealer will include the value of the grant in the vehicle’s price. Just be sure to ask about it next time you take a test drive. 

Hybrid V Electric

To understand which would be the best choice for you, we need to compare the pros and cons of electric vans and hybrids. You can see in the below table a comparison of the positives of both hybrid and electric vans.

Hybrid V Electric

To understand which would be the best choice for you, we need to compare the pros and cons of electric vans and hybrids. You can see in the below table a comparison of the positives of both hybrid and electric vans.

Pros of hybrid and electric vans compared

Hybrid vans Electric vans
Reduced emissions No emissions
Reduced running costs compared to a diesel vehicle Reduced running costs compared to a diesel vehicle
Require less maintenance than diesel vans Require less maintenance than diesel and hybrid vans
They’re quiet They’re quiet
Allows you to drive freely with no range anxiety No charges in low emission zones including ULEZ
Easy to drive as they are all automatic and have a lot of torque
Government grant for new electric vans

Pros of hybrid and electric vans compared

Above you can see that there are plenty of positives to both hybrid and electric vans, but it will ultimately come down to what you are looking for in a vehicle. You may feel more comfortable with a hybrid as it gives you the familiarity of a diesel van, whilst offering some of the benefits of an electric van. Whereas an electric van may be more suitable for you as you are conscious of your environmental impact and also are being charged daily for entering low emission zones.

Not all the positives will affect you and therefore when making the decision it’s important to understand what your main goal is in making the switch to a hybrid or electric van.

Above you can see that there are plenty of positives to both hybrid and electric vans, but it will ultimately come down to what you are looking for in a vehicle. You may feel more comfortable with a hybrid as it gives you the familiarity of a diesel van, whilst offering some of the benefits of an electric van. Whereas an electric van may be more suitable for you as you are conscious of your environmental impact and also are being charged daily for entering low emission zones.

Not all the positives will affect you and therefore when making the decision it’s important to understand what your main goal is in making the switch to a hybrid or electric van.

Hybrid vans Electric vans
Reduced emissions No emissions
Reduced running costs compared to a diesel vehicle Reduced running costs compared to a diesel vehicle
Require less maintenance than diesel vans Require less maintenance than diesel and hybrid vans
They’re quiet They’re quiet
Allows you to drive freely with no range anxiety No charges in low emission zones including ULEZ
Easy to drive as they are all automatic and have a lot of torque Government grant for new electric vans

Cons of hybrid and electric vans compared

Hybrid vans Electric vans
Higher upfront cost Higher upfront cost
Maintenance can be more expensive than diesel vans Maintenance can be more expensive than diesel vans
Still need petrol to run a hybrid Reduced payload
Not as environmentally friendly as electric vans Charging times and location availability
Range anxiety

Cons of hybrid and electric vans compared

Hybrid vans Electric vans
Higher upfront cost Higher upfront cost
Maintenance can be more expensive than diesel vans Maintenance can be more expensive than diesel vans
Still need petrol to run a hybrid Reduced payload
Not as environmentally friendly as electric vans Charging times and location availability
Range anxiety

Yes, there are slightly more cons to electric vans than there are to hybrid vans. However, there are only really 3 that are different to a hybrid van and therefore should be considered when deciding whether you want to buy a hybrid or electric van. These are the reduced payload, range anxiety and lack of charging points.

As with the positives of each, really consider if a hybrid of electric van would work with what you are needing it for. If it’s long miles with a heavy load then perhaps an electric van might not be right for the moment.

Yes, there are slightly more cons to electric vans than there are to hybrid vans. However, there are only really 3 that are different to a hybrid van and therefore should be considered when deciding whether you want to buy a hybrid or electric van. These are the reduced payload, range anxiety and lack of charging points.

As with the positives of each, really consider if a hybrid of electric van would work with what you are needing it for. If it’s long miles with a heavy load then perhaps an electric van might not be right for the moment.

Should I buy a hybrid or electric van?

So we’ve discussed the pros and cons, but should you buy a hybrid or electric van?

Ultimately it depends on what you are looking for from your vehicle, specifically what you need to use it for and how far you need to travel daily. So whether you should buy a hybrid or electric van should be down to an informed decision of what is right for you.

A hybrid van is a good stop gap between a diesel van and an electric but doesn’t provide as many benefits as an electric van does. There are also very few makes and models of hybrid vans on the market, as vehicle manufacturers focus their time on developing electric vans instead. In fact, in the UK there are no self-charging hybrid vans at all, leaving only plug-in hybrids.

Should I buy a hybrid or electric van?

So we’ve discussed the pros and cons, but should you buy a hybrid or electric van?

Ultimately it depends on what you are looking for from your vehicle, specifically what you need to use it for and how far you need to travel daily. So whether you should buy a hybrid or electric van should be down to an informed decision of what is right for you.

A hybrid van is a good stop gap between a diesel van and an electric but doesn’t provide as many benefits as an electric van does. There are also very few makes and models of hybrid vans on the market, as vehicle manufacturers focus their time on developing electric vans instead. In fact, in the UK there are no self-charging hybrid vans at all, leaving only plug-in hybrids.

Van driving on a road

An electric van does offer a lot of benefits for those traveling around low emission zones, or similar routes daily where there is the opportunity to recharge. You can also get a grant to buy a new electric vehicle, however these can be very expensive.

From 2030 all new vehicles will be electric, and between now and then, electric vehicles will continue to develop, with many more models coming onto the market. The mileage range, and power of the vehicles will only increase, and as the government works towards 2030, the infrastructure will become more accessible in many more locations. As this happens a lot of the negatives for electric vans will disappear and only positives will exist.

Whatever your decision, make sure it’s right for you. If you are thinking long term and are stuck between the 2 then electric may be the way forward for you. You will have a better choice, save more money and reduce emissions in one.  

Van driving on a road

An electric van does offer a lot of benefits for those traveling around low emission zones, or similar routes daily where there is the opportunity to recharge. You can also get a grant to buy a new electric vehicle, however these can be very expensive.

From 2030 all new vehicles will be electric, and between now and then, electric vehicles will continue to develop, with many more models coming onto the market. The mileage range, and power of the vehicles will only increase, and as the government works towards 2030, the infrastructure will become more accessible in many more locations. As this happens a lot of the negatives for electric vans will disappear and only positives will exist.

Whatever your decision, make sure it’s right for you. If you are thinking long term and are stuck between the 2 then electric may be the way forward for you. You will have a better choice, save more money and reduce emissions in one.  

Best hybrid vans

There are very few plug-in hybrid vans on the UK market, 2 of which are the Ford Transit PHEV and the LEVC VN5.

Best hybrid vans

There are very few plug-in hybrid vans on the UK market, 2 of which are the Ford Transit PHEV and the LEVC VN5.

Ford Transit PHEV

The Ford Transit PHEV is the UK’s best-selling van but with a hybrid engine The 1.0 petrol engine will never actually power the wheels to move, but instead acts as a generator to create charge for the battery.

Pros

  • The combined petrol-electric range is 300 miles
  • No compromise in load area
  • Smooth driving experience.

Cons

  • The petrol engine can be noisy
  • Only offers 30.5 miles of electric only driving
  • It needs more regular services than its diesel equivalent.

 

Ford Transit PHEV

Ford Transit PHEV

The Ford Transit PHEV is the UK’s best-selling van but with a hybrid engine The 1.0 petrol engine will never actually power the wheels to move, but instead acts as a generator to create charge for the battery.

Pros

  • The combined petrol-electric range is 300 miles
  • No compromise in load area
  • Smooth driving experience.

Cons

  • The petrol engine can be noisy
  • Only offers 30.5 miles of electric only driving
  • It needs more regular services than its diesel equivalent.

 

Ford Transit PHEV

LEVC VN5

The LEVC VN5 is from the manufacturers of the new electric London black cabs. It’s eye catching and unusual whilst giving you over 300 miles before having to refuel.

Pros

  • Offers 61 miles of electric only driving
  • High quality van
  • Lots of safety features

Cons

  • High cost
  • Payload and capacity is limited
  • The only van made by this manufacturer
LEVC-VN5-1

LEVC VN5

The LEVC VN5 is from the manufacturers of the new electric London black cabs. It’s eye catching and unusual whilst giving you over 300 miles before having to refuel.

Pros

  • Offers 61 miles of electric only driving
  • High quality van
  • Lots of safety features

Cons

  • High cost
  • Payload and capacity is limited
  • The only van made by this manufacturer
LEVC-VN5-1

Best electric vans

If an electric van is what you are looking for, then there are plenty more on offer with many more models being developed continuously.

Best electric vans

If an electric van is what you are looking for, then there are plenty more on offer with many more models being developed continuously.

Mercedes-Benz e-Vito

This van has been designed with delivery and city drivers in mind, who do short distances with a heavy load.

Pros

  • Large cargo volumes ranging from 6-6.6 cubic metres
  • Can carry up to 1073kg
  • Available in 2 load lengths – long and extra long

Cons

  • You can’t charge the van with a rapid charger
  • Struggles with performance past 50mph
  • 93 miles on a single charge
Mercedes-Benz e-Vito

Mercedes-Benz e-Vito

This van has been designed with delivery and city drivers in mind, who do short distances with a heavy load.

Pros

  • Large cargo volumes ranging from 6-6.6 cubic metres
  • Can carry up to 1073kg
  • Available in 2 load lengths – long and extra long

Cons

  • You can’t charge the van with a rapid charger
  • Struggles with performance past 50mph
  • 93 miles on a single charge
Mercedes-Benz e-Vito

Nissan e-NV200

From the makers of the popular leaf electric can, Nissan have created the e-NV200 van. The same technology has been used, which you can rely on having been tried and tested for years.

Pros

  • Reliable technology
  • Official range of 124 miles
  • Can be charged to 80% by a rapid charger in 30 minutes

Cons

  • Range changes when fully loaded with 770kg
  • Rare on the used market
  • Basic interiors
Nissan e-NV200

Nissan e-NV200

From the makers of the popular leaf electric can, Nissan have created the e-NV200 van. The same technology has been used, which you can rely on having been tried and tested for years.

Pros

  • Reliable technology
  • Official range of 124 miles
  • Can be charged to 80% by a rapid charger in 30 minutes

Cons

  • Range changes when fully loaded with 770kg
  • Rare on the used market
  • Basic interiors
Nissan e-NV200

Peugeot e-Partner

A great small electric van, that’s been on the market since 2013. It’s a practical small van with a good load space and length.

Pros

  • Official range of 106 miles
  • Can carry 3 people in the front
  • Relaxing and enjoyable drive

Cons

  • Limited to 68mph
  • Limited kit and dated cabin inside the van
  • Starting to look out of date compared to others on the market
Peugeot e-Partner

Peugeot e-Partner

A great small electric van, that’s been on the market since 2013. It’s a practical small van with a good load space and length.

Pros

  • Official range of 106 miles
  • Can carry 3 people in the front
  • Relaxing and enjoyable drive

Cons

  • Limited to 68mph
  • Limited kit and dated cabin inside the van
  • Starting to look out of date compared to others on the market
Peugeot e-Partner

Electric van FAQs

No, this is a common misconception. Electric vans are actually heavier as the battery increases the weight. This is why the maximum payload can often be a little less in the electric equivalent of a diesel van.

On the whole yes. Although it’s not one size fits all for this. Insurance may be more expensive as electric vans tend to be more expensive to buy and maintain. With parts being more expensive to replace. You pay insurance to cover the cost of your vehicle and therefore insurance premiums may be higher.

Electric vans do not pay vehicle tax. This may change with time, but at the moment vehicle tax is £0 for electric vans.

Fully electric vans, and all other vehicles, are exempt from congestion charge as well as charges in the ULEZ area. If you work in these areas regularly, then it’s a strong reason to consider an electric van as your next vehicle.

Electric van FAQs

No, this is a common misconception. Electric vans are actually heavier as the battery increases the weight. This is why the maximum payload can often be a little less in the electric equivalent of a diesel van.

On the whole yes. Although it’s not one size fits all for this. Insurance may be more expensive as electric vans tend to be more expensive to buy and maintain. With parts being more expensive to replace. You pay insurance to cover the cost of your vehicle and therefore insurance premiums may be higher.

Electric vans do not pay vehicle tax. This may change with time, but at the moment vehicle tax is £0 for electric vans.

Fully electric vans, and all other vehicles, are exempt from congestion charge as well as charges in the ULEZ area. If you work in these areas regularly, then it’s a strong reason to consider an electric van as your next vehicle.

Paul Green, National Remarketing Manager
Bringing you expert advice on how to maintain and service your vehicle, so you can enjoy a stress-free life on the road.
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