In recent years, there has been a surge in interest and adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) across the globe, driven by concerns over climate change and the desire to reduce carbon emissions. This trend extends to the commercial sector, with businesses increasingly considering electric vans as a viable option for their transportation needs. 

In Britain, where efforts to reduce emissions and combat air pollution are gaining momentum, the decision to invest in an electric van comes with a set of pros and cons that businesses must carefully consider.

Pros of Purchasing an Electric Van

1. Environmental Benefits

One of the most significant advantages of electric vans is their positive impact on the environment. By running on electricity rather than fossil fuels, electric vans produce zero tailpipe emissions, helping to improve air quality and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. 

In a country like Britain, where air pollution is a pressing concern, the transition to electric vans can contribute to cleaner and healthier cities.

2. Lower Operating Costs

Electric vans typically have lower operating costs compared to their traditional counterparts powered by petrol or diesel engines. Electricity is often cheaper than petrol or diesel on a per-mile basis, resulting in savings on fuel expenses over time. Additionally, electric vans have fewer moving parts and require less maintenance, leading to reduced servicing and repair costs for businesses.

3. Government Incentives

The British government offers various incentives to encourage the adoption of electric vehicles, including vans. These incentives may include grants or subsidies towards the purchase price of electric vans, as well as exemptions or discounts on taxes, congestion charges, and vehicle registration fees. 

Taking advantage of these incentives can make electric vans a more financially attractive option for businesses.

4. Access to Low-Emission Zones

As part of efforts to tackle air pollution, many cities in Britain have implemented low-emission zones (LEZs) or clean air zones (CAZs) where vehicles with high emissions are restricted or subject to charges. Electric vans, being zero-emission vehicles, are typically exempt from these restrictions or charges, providing businesses with unrestricted access to urban areas and potentially saving them money on fines or fees.

Cons of Purchasing an Electric Van

1. Higher Upfront Cost

One of the main barriers to adopting electric vans is their higher upfront cost compared to conventional vans. Electric van technology is still relatively new, and as a result, electric vans tend to be more expensive to purchase initially. While government incentives can help offset some of these costs, businesses may still face challenges in justifying the higher upfront investment.

2. Limited Range and Charging Infrastructure

Range anxiety remains a concern for many businesses considering electric vans. While the range of electric vans has improved in recent years, they still generally have a shorter range compared to petrol or diesel vans. Additionally, the availability of charging infrastructure, particularly fast chargers, may be limited in certain areas, making long journeys or deliveries challenging for businesses operating electric vans.

3. Charging Time

Charging an electric van can take significantly longer than refueling a petrol or diesel van. Even with fast chargers, which can charge a vehicle relatively quickly, businesses may still experience downtime while waiting for their vans to recharge. This downtime can impact productivity and may require careful planning of routes and schedules to accommodate charging stops.

4. Weight and Payload Capacity

Electric vans tend to be heavier than their traditional counterparts due to the weight of their battery packs. This additional weight can impact the van’s payload capacity, potentially limiting the amount of cargo it can carry. For businesses that rely on transporting heavy or bulky items, this reduction in payload capacity may be a significant drawback of electric vans.

Risk Factors Associated with Driving an Electric Van

While electric vans offer numerous benefits, including environmental sustainability and lower operating costs, they also come with their own set of risk factors that drivers and businesses must consider. Understanding these risks is crucial for ensuring the safe operation of electric vans on British roads.

Battery Fire Hazard

Like all vehicles powered by lithium-ion batteries, electric vans carry a risk of battery fires in the event of a crash or malfunction. While modern electric vehicles are equipped with advanced safety features to mitigate this risk, including thermal management systems and crash-resistant battery enclosures, the potential for battery fires remains a concern, especially in high-impact collisions. 

A collision in a works van resulting in a battery fire can have a significant impact on a small business reliant on the vehicle to operate, not to mention the implications of an employee suffering an injury. Individuals involved in these types of incidents must be aware of their employer’s responsibilities towards them in providing a safe place of work, even if that’s in a vehicle. If you’ve been in an accident involving an electric van, it’s highly recommended that you speak to a legal team that are experienced in handling claims within this emerging field of personal injury claims.

Electrocution Risk

Electric vans operate at high voltages, posing a risk of electrocution to occupants and emergency responders in the event of an accident. Unlike traditional internal combustion engine vehicles, which present minimal electrocution risk, electric vans require specialized handling and procedures for rescuing occupants and providing medical assistance at accident scenes.

Reduced Visibility and Audibility

Electric vans are often quieter than their petrol or diesel counterparts, particularly at low speeds, which can pose a risk to pedestrians and cyclists who may not hear them approaching. 

Additionally, electric vans may have limited visibility due to their design or the placement of batteries and other components, increasing the likelihood of accidents, particularly in urban environments with heavy pedestrian traffic.

Handling and Stability

The additional weight of electric van battery packs can affect their handling and stability, especially in adverse weather conditions or emergency maneuvers. Drivers may need to adjust their driving techniques and be mindful of factors such as braking distances and cornering speeds to mitigate the risk of accidents, particularly when operating electric vans with higher payloads or on uneven terrain.

Limited Range Anxiety

Range anxiety, or the fear of running out of battery charge before reaching a destination, can contribute to driver stress and distraction, increasing the risk of accidents. While the range of electric vans is improving with advances in battery technology, drivers must plan their routes carefully and be aware of the location of charging infrastructure to avoid running out of power unexpectedly.

Inadequate Charging Infrastructure

A lack of charging infrastructure, particularly fast chargers, can pose a risk to electric van drivers, especially on long journeys or in remote areas where access to charging points may be limited. Drivers may be forced to take detours or risk running out of battery charge, potentially increasing their exposure to accidents or other hazards on unfamiliar routes.


While electric vans offer numerous advantages, including environmental sustainability and lower operating costs, they also present unique risk factors that drivers and businesses must address to ensure the safe operation of these vehicles on British roads. 

By understanding and mitigating these risks through proper training, maintenance, and adherence to safety protocols, businesses can maximize the benefits of electric vans while minimizing their potential drawbacks.