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Electric van for transport ?

Electric van in emergency transport not yet a viable option.

Today, very hard work is being done to transition from combustion engine cars to electric vehicles. In doing so, it often seems that the end justifies all means. There even appears to be social pressure already. I notice this with people who buy a new car and are pointed out by others that this is not an EV or PHEV. “Surely that’s out of date!”

The speed at which people want to introduce electric driving is staggering. In doing so, people still don’t seem to realize that our power grid cannot handle this at all yet. But perhaps there are things that I am not yet aware of that will make all of this turn out not to be a problem.

Of course, as a transportation entrepreneur, I look primarily at the use and applicability of electric vans and trucks in logistics. In my case especially when it comes to urgent transports over longer distances.

Electric vans in regional distribution.

Deploying an electric van in urban distribution / regional transport is reasonable in itself. With a range of 200-350 kilometers WLTP, you already get by quite nicely if you only need to drive through a few residential areas. However, this is mainly for parcel services / door-to-door delivery but not yet for couriers who provide urgent transportation.
For emergency transport over longer distances, electric driving is not at all interesting yet.
We provide emergency transport throughout Europe, but even within the Netherlands and Belgium the current electric vans are not yet capable enough. As an example, let’s take an emergency transport from southern Limburg to the Randstad. This is still a relatively short drive compared to our destinations within Europe. With a range of 250km WLTP, you will probably just fail to arrive at your final destination in one go. Pretty sour when one has to postpone an operation at a hospital because the courier has to charge his car first, or when the onboard courier misses his flight because the courier’s van comes to a slow stop just before the end. Hopefully still just at a charging station. Should one have a ride to Barcelona, however, one loses a tremendous amount of time with all that charging. Too much time.

Cost of charging electric vans.

Until some time ago, charging an electric car was more economical than filling up with gasoline or diesel. This, of course, depends on electricity and diesel prices. With any luck, fuel prices will return to some normalcy in the near future. However, what is often overlooked is that electric charging also takes time. The driver of the van or truck will also simply have to be paid while charging his electric car. Those are costs to be added to the charge/fuel.

Environmental zones in city centers and city hubs.

Thus, if one performs an emergency transport, until now one has actually still had to rely on vans with an internal combustion engine. In this, almost everyone uses a diesel engine. These are pretty clean these days. This comment is all too often considered swearing in church these days.
So what should one do if one quickly arrives at the edge of an environmental zone within which the destination is located? There are several initiatives to create so-called city hubs. The package would then have to be transferred by the courier to another courier with an electric van who would then take care of the so-called last mile delivery. This also takes too much time in emergency shipments. This is more suitable for delivering a larger amount of freight to a Cityhub that is then distributed as partial loads by electric vehicles.
As it stands, hybrid vans will also not be allowed. This in itself could be a solution to environmental zones. The hybrid van’s battery would have been charged during highway mileage, and the battery’s small range might be just enough to get in and out of environmental zones without emissions. So as far as I know this is not the intention and also there are hardly any hybrid vans to be found. I personally only know of the Ford Transit that has a hybrid version.

Van does not but a passenger car does ?

The ban on internal combustion engines in environmental zones will apply to vans and trucks. Why not for passenger cars I wonder. But who knows, maybe this will change or I misunderstood.

BPM on vans turns a van into a passenger car and then can it enter the environmental zone?

We already have just about the most expensive cars in Europe thanks to BPM, and now they want to introduce this additional tax on vans as well. I personally do not like this idea at all but it would mean that if one buys a passenger transport version of a van, one would be just as expensive as with a van for freight transport. In short, one buys a yellow license plate van and removes the passenger seats. One now has a car with yellow license plates and lots of cargo space. Now one can enter the environmental zone because it is not officially a van.

Exception of (medical) emergency transports.

Making an exception for certain forms of transportation would also be an option. If so, however, one must state very clearly what those exceptions are. This also seems to me very difficult to control and/or enforce because people are obviously quite inventive.

The EU has voted to ban the sale of internal combustion engines by 2035.

Should this still be the case by then, this carries a better solution for transportation, namely the hydrogen combustion engine, prematurely to the grave. Fortunately, this has not yet been definitively decided. In fact, this must first be approved by the various member states.

Technological developments and ideas for the future.

The ban on vans with internal combustion engines in environmental zones is not yet in place at this time but, as a business owner, you should obviously already be looking ahead and making sure that it is in place. In the coming years, electric vehicles are likely to have an increasing range, and I also hope for other technological developments or good ideas to take care of this. Quite some time ago I wrote an article outlining why drones are not an alternative in my view.

Do you have any good ideas on this topic? I’d love to hear it.

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