How efficient is an electric van and could you drive the entire British coastline in one?

If you are unaware, a man called Nick Butter recently triumphed in an achievement like no other. The Bristol-based runner was able to run around the British coastline in just 128 days, completing the equivalent of 200 marathons. You may be wondering ‘what does this have to do with motoring?’ and you would be right to do so but all will be explained shortly.

Covering a distance of around 5,240 miles, Nick’s Run Britain challenge has shown the world what the human body is truly capable of when a mind of steel is in the driver’s seat and the legs of an already-triple-world-record-holder are powering it.

This inspirational feat lead to van leasing company, Van Ninja, to do some thinking. How long would it take for an electric van to do the same journey and how much would it cost? With electric vans slowly creeping into the market, they still have a lot to prove to consumers and businesses alike due to their limited range and the hassle of charging them on the go.

This is no easy journey. Covering over ⅕ of the Earth’s circumference, Nick Butter sustained many injuries, went through many pairs of trainers and spent around twelve hours running each day. Obviously a vehicle of any kind will make it easier but how would an electric van fare? With emissions becoming a more relevant topic each day and the Prime Minister’s ban of new petrol and diesel vehicles by 2030 still sitting strong, there is no better time to emphasise the capabilities of the modest electric van.

As Nick’s journey did, the van would start in Cornwall at the Eden Project and travel counterclockwise around Britain, heading through Hampshire, then Kent, then all the way South to Scotland and then back down again passing by Dumfries, Cumbrian, Wales and Somerset.

Using the VW e-Transporter as the van of choice, this journey would be no easy feat if it were to be done in real life. With a range of just 82 miles, the e-Transporter would need to be charged quite often, with a full charge taking 5 hours 30 minutes starting from 0%.

With that, on this 5,255-mile journey there would need to be 65 stops in order to recharge the battery. This is based on access to a standard 7kWh charging port found at hotels, car parks and similar places and if chargers with higher power were available, charging would be quicker. With 7kWh charging, the journey would consist of roughly 357.5 hours of charging!

Assuming an average speed of 50mph, the e-Transporter would spend around 51 hours of driving so combining charging time and driving time, you would be able to travel the British coastline in 17 and a half days!

Now, that may not sound all that impressive if you consider how much quicker it would be to do in a more standard diesel van but what’s really impressive is the cost saving.

On average, it would cost around 2-3p per mile thanks to the low cost of electricity meaning the savings in fuel would be humongous. At this rate, the e-Transporter would be able to complete the circuit of Britain whilst costing just £50 – £75 in electricity. The equivalent cost for a diesel van would be around £745!

Let us know if you know anyone considering buying an electric van, in the comments!

If you liked this, you may also enjoy: ‘Mercedes-AMG Proves Hybrids Are Cool

Source: Van Ninja

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2 Responses

  1. Peter

    Interesting article but worthless for the promotion of electric vehicles and is totally hypothetical.
    In the remoter areas of the mainland where do you get a charge? I don’t know but, think that charge points will be further apart than the vans maximum travel distance of 82 miles and this would be reduced by the mountainous terrain. I would suggest that it will take you considerably longer if you actually did it and if you calculated the circumference of the British coastline correctly.
    It’s touch and go if the van would beat Nick’s 128 days. Go Nick.
    Fun article but factually inaccurate.

  2. Mike Langrish

    Dear Tom.

    Thank you for your interesting article, but with a range of only 82 miles the van seems impractical for general use. But the overall cost savings on the journey are impressive.

    As for the travels you report, from Kent you drive North to Scotland not South, and it should be Cumbria, not Cumbrian (that’s a mountain range).


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