Category Archives: Electric Van

Living with an Electric Vehicle

Here is an update on our experience of living with an Electric Vehicle, our lovely Red Renault Kangoo ZE Van.

We have been working with Scottish Power this week in Cumbernauld, so I have been using the Electric Van to get to and from the venue. This is how much charge I had left when I got back home from full this morning. The range metering is very accurate so little in the way of range anxiety was felt.

Kangoo range

Interesting to note the EV takes about 6 hours to charge, and my energy monitor shows a charge load of about 4kw so to charge it takes approx 24kwh @ 14p per kwh = £3.36p per charge which gives 80 miles so 4.2p per mile in electricity. This equates to 12.3p per mile on the diesel Kangoo which we also run  (£1.35 ppl  = £6.14 ppg at 50 mpg giving  12.3p). So mile for mile in energy it’s a third of the cost to run.

It was however nearly twice the cost of the diesel van and there is the lease of the battery as well to consider so total cost of owner ship will be more over the life time but as previously noted its not an economy driven purchase. Time will change this as the tech becomes cheaper and the diesel becomes more expensive and it will not take much to put them on a par.

Another factor that I noticed this week was the apparent difference in range the temperature had on the battery. Over three journeys all the same distance all starting with the same state of charge (Full) I found there to be a marked decrease in range as the temperature dipped. I am not talking into freezing either. On Monday it was 18c, a nice day and I made my trip with exactly a 1/2 charge remaining and I made it back on the same charge, (see the picture at the start of this post). The following day it was a bit cooler and I arrived a bit under and so I topped up a 1/4 charge to make sure I got back OK. This morning it was about 8c and the same journey and I arrived with about 3/8 of a charge which with out a top up would mean that I would not be able to make it home. I will monitor that over the winter to see if there is a rule of thumb, like 1 degree = 1 mile…

Finally on to Range Anxiety, I have become quite comfortable with the range and the metering showing an accurate range available on the dashboard. Where I do become anxious is when I go beyond the halfway point on the promise of a top up when I get to my destination. My anxiety is not with the car but with the charge point materialising or being available. Many who offer a charge point do not fully appreciate that we can’t just plug in to any charge point offered. The failure occurs when a key card is required to access the charge point. These are usually kept with the keys of the EV for which it was installed, however it therefore means that it is not usually not around when offered to me resulting in no access as a second card is not left with reception to give others access should it be needed.

Charge post

Charge points need a card to access them

To overcome this we now subscribe to 3 different networks.
Electrobay, Pod Point and Ecotricity in the hope that we can access the charger when we get there. Once we get to public charge points there is often a different challenge of access…

Access can be problem...

Access can be problem…

This is known as being ICE’d (Internal Combustion Engine)…

We have now done nearly 5,000 miles and owned the van for 10 months so our estimate of 6000 miles a year looks to have been accurate.

More content will be posted as we encounter it. Hope you find this of interest and we are happy to discuss our experiences. Contact Us

Electric Vans = No TAX and No MOT?

Apparently our electric van is not only Tax exempt it is also MOT exempt!? This is because it is taxed as a electric goods vehicle. If it had been taxed as an electric passenger vehicle then it would need an MOT after 3 years like a regular car. However be assured we will take it for a test irrespective if it needs one by law.

I think this is a throw back to the impression that a commercial electric vehicle is a milk float and therefore can’t travel fast or far. I think any vehicle that can do 70+ mph  needs an MOT. Our van is not a milk float!


The other point to make is that not having a legal obligation to have an MOT does not alleviate us from the responsibility of ensuring the van is maintained in a road worthy condition.

Interestingly this status precludes it from having a cherished number plate, which is how we found out about this, as I wanted to transfer a cherished number but got rebuffed by the DVLA. So I will have to put it onto the diesel Kangoo instead as that definitely needs an MOT, as well as a wash…

Electric Van first week use…

We got our Kangoo ZE Electric Van delivered last week and so far the Van it self has been lovely to drive and and my kids love it as they don’t get car sick in it! (No fumes to trigger any nausea, I remember the smell of leather car seats used to set me off!)

We have not done any meaning full trips in it yet just commuter runs back and forth as the range anxiety is quite real and even with a full charge we have a predicted range of just 40 miles! I hasten to add this is based on our driving style and usage so far… we have done less than 100 miles and the commute involves driving up and down some steep hills but I feel confident enough that on a full charge it should get us to Edinburgh and back.

Range anxiety however is the least of my worries as the Van is not charging from our installed charge point, fitted last May, so now I need to test it on another charge point so we can say definitely if it’s the point or the car as at the moment Renault say its the point and Chargemaster say it’s the car, and neither can do anything about it till the New Year! We can charge OK from a 13amp domestic socket, so we are mobile, but this proves little in terms of diagnosing the problem as the charge point is more ‘intelligent’ and requires a ‘handshake’ to start charging and it is at this point our set up is failing. So until this issue is sorted I am less inclined to travel far. We will keep you updated but as the man for Chargemaster said “things are never simple for early adopters…”


Electric Van Arrives!

It’s Here! After nearly 1o months of waiting and numerous battles we finally have our Electric Van. Judith took delivery yesterday. By way of apology they included a bunch of flowers, it could have been a dead cat in a shoe box and we would have been just a pleased with it. 🙂

Electric Van Arrives

Interestingly the van was more to insure than the diesel equivalent, which we also have in the fleet. This is probably due to the fact that it is almost 3x the cost, a new battery alone is £9k (Insurance replacement cost) almost as much as the whole diesel van cost to buy at £10k! So to get the same milage out of the battery as the equivalent cost of diesel  it would need to power the van for more than 79,000 miles (assuming 60mpg and £1.50p per ltr)

But this is not about economy, it is about ecology and being fossil fuel independent, resilience (A mode of transport that won’t stop if the petrol tankers go on strike again or if Iran close the Strait of Hormuz...). The drive is so smooth that kids don’t get car sick. Its like double glazing your house, it will take you 25 years to re-coupe the cost in heating bill savings but the house is more comfortable, quieter, warmer and generally a nicer place to be. There are more tangible benefits than just saving money.

More to follow as we get used to the new mode of transport for crew, family and equipment.

Electric Van to get Good Energy

Good Energy

The Electric Van is due to arrive by the end of this month and our EV journey will enter a new phase. To prepare for this we have changed our energy supplier to Good Energy (click on the logo above to go to their website).

The thinking behind the move is there is no point in running an EV as a green policy if the electricity that charges it comes from a fossil fuelled power station. So this week we have signed up with Good Energy as our energy supplier as they guarantee all their energy is from renewables… We will be making the change at my home too as this is where the majority of its over night charging will be done. All this and not an open toed sandal in sight…