Best electric vans 2020

We reveal the best electric vans for sale or lease in the UK right now

There's a revolution taking place in the van market. Electric drive is being introduced across the van spectrum, with makers such as VW, Ford, Mercedes and PSA joining ranks with established brands like Nissan and Renault by offering electrified vans for sale in the UK.

In recent years, we've seen large electric vans arrive, where maximum cargo volume is the priority over payload. These have been introduced alongside small electric vans, which are designed for short urban routes. But as battery technology has progressed, with increased battery capacity offering longer ranges, we're now at a stage where even the popular mid-sized van class is a viable market for electrification.

On the whole, these electric vans are designed with a focus on so-called last-mile delivery services. In this role, the electric van offers a zero-emissions journey for a parcel's trip from distribution centre to its final destination. The benefits are huge for local air pollution, especially in urban areas, and most vans offer a driving range that will be acceptable for a day's work on a delivery route.

For van users still uncertain that an all-electric van will fit into their working lives, there are a couple of plug-in hybrid options available, too. Ford offers its mid-sized Transit Custom as a plug-in hybrid, while taxi maker LEVC now has the VN5 range-extending van, which runs on electric power, but has a petrol engine generator on board to help counter range anxiety.

Whether you choose all-electric or plug-in hybrid power, you'll find these vans offer a similar cargo volume to their diesel counterparts. Clever packaging sees the batteries often located under the load area floor, while the electric motor and auto gearbox take up less space and save weight when compared to a diesel drivetrain. This has a positive side effect, because it means payload weights don't fall drastically due to the fitment of a heavy battery.

Makers such as Volkswagen, Mercedes, Citroen/Peugeot/Vauxhall and Fiat have taken their existing diesel vans and converted them to electric drive - a relatively easy job within the large, flat expanse of metal found in the back of most vans. But there are newcomers to the class as well. As mentioned, LEVC has adapted its range-extending taxi into a van, while Maxus has launched the pure-electric e Deliver 3, which isn't related to any other Maxus model that it sells.

At the moment, the Government offers the Plug-in Van Grant, which is similar to the electric car incentive, but with two major differences. Firstly, the discount is up to £8,000, which is £5,000 more than the car grant, and secondly any electric or plug-in van qualifies. That's a useful saving, because electric vans are pricey when compared to diesel versions. In an effort to counter the high initial cost of an electric van, many makers like to look at the total cost of ownership (TCO) of an electric van, because while the initial outlay is high, you can save hundreds on everyday running costs, chiefly in terms of fuel costs, but also in taxes.

Are you looking for an electric van? If so, here is an alphabetical rundown of the electric vans and plug-in alternatives that are for sale now and will be coming to a van dealer near you soon.

Best electric vans 2020

Scroll down for more details on all today's top electric van models...

Peugeot Partner Electric/Citroen Berlingo Electric

  • Price from: £23,030
  • On sale: Now
  • Electric range: 106 miles (NEDC)
  • Cargo volume: 3.3-3.7 cubic metres

This duo is one of the cheapest ways into an electric van, but there are some serious compromises required to get behind the wheel. They're based on the previous-generation Berlingo/Partner, not the excellent current versions, so you get a very basic interior without much kit.

There's also a limited driving range, because while a 106-mile quoted range might sound reasonable, that's based on the old NEDC test, which isn't as stringent as the WLTP test that other vans here have undergone. Basically, if you can get close to that 106-mile range, then you're some sort of efficiency god.

Still, cargo volume is decent - the Electric comes in L1 and L2 lengths - the small battery means it'll be quick to charge (which is useful, because there are no fast-charge options), and if you do lots of short trips then the limited range could be more than enough for your needs. However, you don't need to look far to find a better electric van. Or you could wait for the next generation Berlingo and Partner Electric (as well as the similar Vauxhall Combo-e), which are due in 2021. 

Citroen e-Dispatch/Peugeot e-Expert/Vauxhall Vivaro-e

  • Price from: Available to order
  • On sale: 2020
  • Electric range: Up to 205 miles
  • Cargo volume: Up to 6.6 cubic metres

Before the new electric Berlingo, Partner and Combo, the mid-sized e-Dispatch, e-Expert and Vivaro-e are due in dealers. They're available to order now, and as you can see from the figures, while these are larger vans (available in L1 and L2 body lengths and a single roof height), there's a longer range on offer. Go for the larger 75kWh battery, and there's a range of 205 miles WLTP, while even the 50kWh van manages 143 miles on a full charge.

Battery location doesn't affect carrying capacity. There's a cargo volume of up to 6.6 cubic metres if you add the optional thru-loading bulkhead, while payload weights of up to 1,275kg aren't far behind the diesel variants, either. Do be aware that carrying a full load will hamper the van's overall range, though. 

Fast-charging of up to 100kW available, so you'll be able to charge the 50kWh battery to 80 per cent in half an hour, while the larger 75kWh battery can get to the same percentage in 45 minutes. There's a 7.4kW charging system fitted to the van as standard, while an 11kW charger is available for drivers on a busy schedule.

As well as the latest battery tech, these three vans are packed with safety and connectivity features from the PSA Group's car range. There's full connectivity and smartphone access to assorted functions, while a passenger carrying double cab variant offers another practical option for work users. 

Citroen e-Relay/Peugeot e-Boxer

  • Price from: TBC
  • On sale: 2021
  • Electric range: Up to 169 miles
  • Cargo volume: 8 cubic metres

With vans such as the Renault Master ZE and Maxus EV80 already for sale, Citroen and Peugeot have been slower to the large electric van market. Until now, it's been down to aftermarket conversion companies to electrify the bigger models in their respective ranges, but now there's the Citroen e-Relay and Peugeot e-Boxer to fight their corners. 

There are two battery options, 44kWh or 62kWh, and that means there's a maximum range of 169 miles on offer (141 miles in the 44kWh version). Like rivals, the electric tech has been fitted into the van without spoiling cargo volumes, so there's the same amount of space as you'll find in the diesel versions.

Fiat E-Ducato

  • Price from: TBC
  • On sale: 2021
  • Electric range: Up to 224 miles
  • Cargo volume: 10-17 cubic metres

The Ducato is another van that has, until now, only ever been converted into an electric van by conversion specialists. But the off-the-shelf E-Ducato promises a wide variety of tailored options for electric van buyers. There are 3 lengths and 3 heights of panel van for a total of 28 body styles, as well as a chassis cab option and even a passenger version with up to 9 seats.

Cargo volumes are hard to fault, while Fiat also offers gross vehicle weights of up to  4.25 tonnes (licence permitting). Payloads go as high as 1.9 tonnes, too.

There's a choice of two batteries, either 47kWh or 79kWh, which offer a range of 137 miles and 224 miles respectively. Charging rates are as high as 22kW, which means an 80 per cent recharge can take as little as two and a half hours for the smaller battery (4 hours for the bigger pack).

Ford Transit Custom PHEV

  • Price from: £34,395
  • On sale: Now
  • Electric range: 35 miles (310 miles total range)
  • Cargo volume: Up to 6 cubic metres

If an all-electric van doesn't quite fit into your business plans - you do too many longer drives, for example - then the Transit Custom PHEV could be the alternative option for you. It has a compact battery stowed under the cargo floor - so again the standard Custom's load volume is unaffected - but there's a 1.0-litre EcoBoost turbo petrol engine under the bonnet as well.

The engine can either power the van or recharge the battery (although the latter has a significant impact on fuel economy), while Ford offers a series of driving modes to help you manage energy use. Hybrid mode makes best use of stored energy between the battery and fuel tank, while there's also an EV mode - where the engine doesn't cut in until the battery is flat - and a Save function. This lets you run on engine power until you need the battery, when you reach a zero emissions driving zone, for example. Even better is the fact Ford offers tracking technology that allows you to set these functions to activate automatically as you drive.

With 35 miles of EV driving range, that's plenty for lots of short hops in congested urban areas. Add the backup of the petrol engine and you don't have to worry about running out of power.

LEVC VN5

  • Price from: £46,500
  • On sale: Now
  • Electric range: 58 miles (300 miles in total)
  • Cargo volume: 5 cubic metres

A slightly different approach to plug-in hybrid van technology comes from LEVC and its taxi-based VN5 van. There's a petrol engine like you'll find in the Transit Custom PHEV, but it's a generator with power being sent to the electric motor, rather than the wheels.

There's a 31kWh battery, so the VN5 has an all-electric range of 58 miles. When the battery is flat, the engine kicks in, and the van has a total range of 300 miles. That means the VN5 is a viable everyday van that will be able to operate just like a diesel van, and if you keep the battery charged, then you might not even trouble the petrol engine on most journeys.

Inside, there's a payload of 830kg and a cargo volume of 5 cubic metres, so the VN5 isn't the biggest van around, but it should be enough for urban deliveries.

Maxus EV80

  • Price from: £24,614
  • On sale: Now
  • Electric range: 119 miles
  • Cargo volume: Up to 11.6 cubic metres

The van previously known as the LDV EV80 offers one of the less expensive routes into electric van ownership. It's available in a range of body styles - from three panel van lengths to chassis cab, as well as tipper, Luton and even minibus form.

The Maxus EV80 offers up to 119 miles of range, which is slightly ahead of its large electric van rivals, but the EV80 isn't quite up to the same level of quality as a Renault Master ZE, for example. Still, the battery tech means the EV80 is far better to drive than the clunky diesel version, and if you can make the electric van work for you, then it's the best option in the range.

Maxus e Deliver 3

  • Price from: £22,800
  • On sale: Autumn
  • Electric range: Up to 150 miles
  • Cargo volume: Up to 6.3 cubic metres

The e Deliver 3 is Maxus's next-generation electric van. It's a more advanced design than the EV80, with sharper looks and improved tech on board. There are two battery options available - 35kWh and 52.5kWh - so there's a range of between 93 miles and 150 miles on offer, depending on battery and van length you go for. Payloads range from 905kg to 1,020kg, too.

There are a variety of charging options available, too, with a fast charge from a public DC point taking as little as 45 minutes. The 121bhp electric motor sends power to the front wheels, leaving the cargo area free of any mechanical components.

Mercedes eSprinter

  • Price from: TBC
  • On sale: 2021
  • Electric range: 71 miles
  • Cargo volume: 10.5 cubic metres

The eSprinter is still in development, even though we drove a prototype back in 2018. At the time company's large van used the same electric motor and battery as the smaller eVito, so there's a 41kWh battery offering a range of 71 miles. However, the extra space under the load floor means a 55kWh battery could also be fitted, offering a range of 93 miles. Recharging times were up to 8 hours for the bigger battery, but with charging tech moving forward, this is likely to be shorter with the latest options on offer.

While the battery harms payload weights, cargo volume of 10.5 cubic metres remains unchanged in the single bodystyle the eSprinter was set to be offered in. As with the eVito, there are drive settings that offer different levels of resistance to help replenish the battery while on the move.

Mercedes eVito

  • Price from: £39,895
  • On sale: Now
  • Electric range: 93 miles
  • Cargo volume: Up to 6.6 cubic metres

The eVito is the first all-electric van from Mercedes, and if you only do short trips, then it offers all of the benefits of the standard Vito, but with zero-emissions. The 41kWh battery is good for a range of 93 miles, while the van drives just like the diesel Vito, maybe even easier because it's auto-only.

There are two body lengths available, and they both have the same cargo volume as the standard versions of the van. Charging is via a socket where the diesel's fuel filler sits, and the battery can be recharged in six hours, although there's no option for fast-charging. Mercedes offers three driving modes to help maintain battery charge, while different levels of resistance are on offer to help with energy recovery under braking and when coasting.

Nissan eNV200

  • Price from: £20,005
  • On sale: Now
  • Electric range: 124 miles
  • Cargo volume: 4.2 cubic metres

The eNV200 rides on the coat-tails of the Leaf hatchback, because when an update is made to Nissan's top-selling EV, the revisions trickle over to the van as well. The most recent update saw a 40kWh battery added under the load floor, while a 124-mile WLTP-tested range should be achievable in the real world. A full charge takes seven and a half hours via a wallbox, or a lengthy 21 hours from a three-pin plug. Go for fast-charging via the Chademo connector, and you can go from a 20 to 80 per cent charge in 40 to 60 minutes, depending on the outlet.

Like many of these vans, the Nissan comes with settings that allow you to set the cabin temperature before you set off, which helps you to maximise your driving range. However, the trade-off is a van that's feeling a bit dated these days, while the 4.2 cubic metre load area is on the small side, and there's no larger load area option available.

Renault Kangoo ZE

  • Price from: £24,480
  • On sale: Now
  • Electric range: 143 miles
  • Cargo volume: Up to 4.6 cubic metres

The Kangoo ZE follows a similar formula to the eNV200, because it benefits from tech developments from the Zoe electric supermini. There's a 33kWh battery, and while the official range is 143 miles, Renault offers a range calculator on its website that will show you if a Kangoo can fit into your business. Charging times range from 17 hours via a three-pin plug, to 6 hours from the fastest charge points - unfortunately limited by the Kangoo's on-board charging tech.

Even better is the fact there are a variety of body styles on offer to buyers. There's the standard Kangoo, the long-wheelbase Kangoo Maxi, plus Extended Cab and 5-seat options. The latter two feature folding rear seats and a folding bulkhead to add even more versatility.

Renault Master ZE

  • Price from: £57,040
  • On sale: Now
  • Electric range: 124 miles
  • Cargo volume: Up to 13 cubic metres

The Master ZE sets the template for the kind of last-mile delivery vans that we've seen in recent years. It offers maximum cargo volume for package deliveries, while its driving range is acceptable for a day's work. Surprisingly it uses the same electric drive system as the Kangoo, and while there's an official range of 124 miles, you can expect 75 miles in regular use, or as low as 50 miles in cold weather - but then that should be enough for most daily routines. As with the Kangoo ZE, charging takes anywhere between 6 and 17 hours.

There are two lengths and two heights of panel van on offer, and there's also the platform cab in two lengths available for conversion purposes, so any diesel conversion you can think of can be electrified.

Volkswagen Abt e-Transporter

  • Price from: £42,060
  • On sale: Now
  • Electric range: 82 miles
  • Cargo volume: 6.7 cubic metres

The e-Transporter has been developed by independent EV specialist Abt, rather than being an in-house project. However, it's officially sanctioned by VW, so it's sold via VW dealers and is covered by the same warranty as the standard Transporter 6.1. The electric drive system is available in one body length, but also comes in five-seat Kombi spec.

The e-Transporter uses Abt's e-Line electric tech, which essentially sees the running gear of the e-Golf added to the van. There's a 37.3kWh battery mounted under the load floor, while the 109bhp electric motor drives the front wheels. That means there's a range of 82 miles, which is relatively modest, but there are multiple charging options, with high-sped CCS charging available that can take the battery from zero to 80 per cent in 45 minutes. Use a 7.2kW wallbox, and you can charge it in five and a half hours, so it'll be easy to charge overnight.

Check out the best small vans to buy now

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