The VW Transporter squarely occupies the classy end of the extensive range of medium sized vans on the road. The All new 2021 VW E-Transporter takes everything that makes this premium panel van a classy courier fleet favourite, strips out the oily stuff and substitutes a motor and battery. You’d barely notice the difference from the outside. Even inside the difference is only subtle. It’s only when you switch it on that the absence of an engine gives the VW E-Transporter away as a glimpse into the future of commercial vehicles and as something we’re expecting to fast become a favourite amongst our soon to be electric van hire customers.
When we say you’ll hardly notice the difference in looks between the regular Transporter and the E-Transporter, we’re not kidding. This more or less the same van, it’s just the method of propulsion that’s different. There are subtle changes in the instrument cluster which keep you informed of the battery and motor status, but otherwise only a few subtle badges betray the difference. Even the DSG gear lever is retained.
All these similarities are definitely a good thing. Vehicle electrification has only just entered the mainstream. So while acceptance of battery powered vehicles is starting to grow, VW have gone down a perfectly sensible route of using an existing and highly regarded platform rather than creating something brand new that would probably be ‘weird looking’. (Don’t forget how revolutionary the Ford Focus looked when it was first released – newness sometimes takes a while to settle in). A little newness (weirdness) can usually be tolerated, but a new look AND a new drivetrain might be a bit ‘too’ much all at once, so there’s logic in taking things one step at a time and retaining a little familiarity!
So if it ‘looks’ the same, the only difference really worth noting is the driving experience.
It’s worth noting right off the bat that the official range of the electric Transporter on a full charge is 82 miles. Because we’re used to getting more miles out of a full tank of petrol or diesel this might immediately make you think that the VW E-Transporter isn’t for you. But bear with us while we tell you why Volkswagen thinks this isn’t the case.
First of all, managers of a multi-drop courier fleet will almost certainly agree with Volkswagen that most drivers average only 60 miles per day; far less than the range of the VW E-Transporter. So range isn’t really an issue if vans are back at the depot charging overnight. In fact this saves time, as there’ll be no trips to the petrol station required and, of course, the ‘fuel’ cost per miles is significantly cheaper for vehicles which run on batteries!
Even if your drivers need greater range, the E-Transporter, thanks to being able to take both AC and DC chargers, can accept 50kW rapid charging. 50kW rapid chargers are far easier to find out in ‘the wild’ than the comparatively rare 100kW and 150kW super fast equivalents, so locating and utilising them won’t be an issue. On a 50kW charger, the VW E-Transporter can receive up to an 80% charge in as little as 45 minutes – enough time for drivers to have their lunch break and/or load up for a second run should they need to, almost doubling the daily range if needed.
The 82 miles range does however seem to be a fairly accurate indication of range and the range display shown on the smart instrument cluster shows pretty much what you’ll get. This is thanks, in part to the fact that the E-Transporter is limited to 56mph, meaning that it can get the best possible range out of its battery. Local couriers aren’t likely to be doing many motorway miles, so once again this isn’t the problem it might first seem to be. It might also help keep your rather more ‘exhuberant’ divers on the right side of the dual carriageway speed cameras saving them points and you admin time processing the PCN’s.
Miles travelled per £ spent is always going to go in favour of an electric vehicle, but the financial argument doesn’t end there.
Where the E-Transporter makes the most sense is around town and in cities. In built up areas, with high population densities, your drivers will appreciate the high quality and instant torque of the electric Transporter. If you’re accustomed to running a fleet of diesel vehicles in an urban environment, you’ll be aware that modern diesel engines are often less than happy with the multiple low speed ‘micro-journeys’ multi-drop couriers engage in and you’ll have more than a passing acquaintance with what the DPF light on dashboards looks like. Obviously no such issues with an electric van!
Another argument n favour of the VW E-Transporter is that, being an electric van, it’s totally exempt from both the London Congestion Charge and The Ultra Low Emissions Zone. If you operate a van fleet in London, this could make choosing electric van hire essentially pay for itself. You might also be aware that the City of Bath became the first place outside of London to introduce a ‘Clean Air Zone‘ (CAZ) earlier this week. Congestion charging, clean air zones and ultra low emissions zones are pretty common across Europe and there are more on the cards for over here. Birmingham have a similar scheme planned for later this year and Manchester pretty likely to be following suit at some point. Electric vans are exempt from all of these right now and as such are likely to be exempt from all of them for the foreseeable future. If you were ever considering electric, order your vans now – they’ll likely get more expensive as the demand increases later!
True enough, electric vans are more expensive to buy, but this is where van hire comes into its own. Rental is almost always far cheaper than buying a new vehicle, both in terms of cost and of convenience.
Our rental prices are based on residual value and EV’s hold their value very well, meaning that we can rent them out extremely cheaply. If you’re going to either contract hire a van for three years or buy a brand new van and sell it after three years, you’ll start with a new van, finish with no van. The only difference is whose name goes on the log book and how much money you’ve spent at the end of the three years. No matter how you work it out, you spend less if you rent. (Ask your Accountant).
Naturally, you won’t rent for less than if you choose to rent from Westwood!