Should you buy a used electric van?

Zero-emissions electric vans are proving to be the right choice for many businesses. Read on to find out if one might suit your needs

Renault Kangoo Z.E.

In the market for a used electric van? You won’t be alone, as many buyers looking to move away from diesel and petrol vans into electric ones, but don’t want to pay over the odds for a new one.

Buying a used electric van is no different to buying a used electric car, which isn’t that different from buying any used vehicle. But, as with all used vehicle purchases, there are some steps to follow in order to make sure you’re buying the right one.

Make sure a used electric van suits your needs

If you’re using the van for business and trade purposes, think about the type of driving you’ll regularly be doing. Are you often on the motorway, or are you more likely to be based in towns with frequent access to public charging? If you’re travelling up and down the county, doing many miles a day, an electric van may not be the ideal solution.

If you're in a town or a city, doing a limited number of miles a day with lots of access to public or private charging points, then an electric van will likely help you to save big on your running costs.

Precautionary checks

As with any used vehicle, check its overall condition. Inspect the bodywork closely, check the tyres' condition and that all of the electronics on-board work. Then go over the service history of the van, and if applicable, its MoT history. Any advisories or missed services should be questioned.

Battery capacity and lease options

The big concern with electric cars and vans is whether the batteries can still hold a full charge efficiently. All batteries degrade over time, and the lithium-ion ones in electric vehicles are no different. Ideally, you’d be able to test-drive the van with a full charge and keep an eye on the range left in the battery to determine whether it’s holding charge efficiently.

It’s also important to determine whether the van in question has a battery lease or not. A battery lease is a separate lease on the battery of the vehicle. What this means is that you'll have to purchase both the van and the lease if you wish to drive it.

The benefit of a battery lease is that while you incur an added expense each month (think around £49), you will enjoy the peace of mind that if the battery’s condition deteriorates significantly, the manufacturer will replace it free of charge. Typically, batteries are replaced if they fail to operate at at least 70% of their original capacity.

Also, pay attention to the battery warranty. Manufacturers supply different length warranties on their batteries, and it’s always worth purchasing one with a warranty still in effect.