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Nissan e-NV200
More widespread acceptance of e-vans like Nissan’s e-NV200 could see 2014 mark a turning point for the acceptance of alternative fueled vans in general

WITH fuel costs forming such a large proportion of total transport costs, alternate fuels should be a consideration for tradespeople and SME businesses.

But alternatively fuelled vans have struggled to find acceptance in the used wholesale market, according to used vehicle specialist Manheim.

But, for electric vans at least, that could all change later this year. Despite all of the media coverage given to full blown electric vans, Manheim says the market for these used vehicles is still in its infancy. The vans were expensive to buy new and often funded from major PLC marketing budgets to meet ‘green’ agendas.

hybrid conversions  were fought over both in the hall and online by franchise and non-franchise buyers alike

In the used market a buyer has to justify the price premium versus traditional fuels without the budget or turnover of the original PLC owner. Diesel will win the day for a long time yet, says Manheim, until LCV running costs and taxes are more closely linked to emissions.

Manheim head of commercial vehicles James Davis told Business Vans: “Traders are still nervous about the potential longevity of full electric vans, specifically differing van ownership and battery lease agreement combinations, which have not yet instilled confidence in the used market.

“This issue, along with uncertainty regarding battery life and their replacement costs, create an unclear long-term picture for used eVans.”

But the few examples Manheim has sold at auction have exceeded the book values achieved by their identical diesel cousins, purely because of their rarity value, plus the fact that some dealers focus on offering ‘something different’.

“During a Manheim auction in late 2013, two vans – both hybrid conversions – were fought over both in the hall and online by franchise and non-franchise buyers alike,” said Davis.

“The two vans, both 10/10 plate Ford Transits, were fitted with AshWoods range extending technology. A silver 17,000-mile example sold for 131% of CAP average, equating to an additional £2250. The second, finished in white with 29,000 miles, sold for 125% of CAP average – an additional £1775.”

Manheim believes LPG is all but extinct among mainstream business van operators, saying that the technology is disadvantaged by operation, the tank size and its position in the payload area, in addition to a fragmented refuelling network infrastructure.

Davis believes the official introduction of Nissan’s e-NV200 in June 2014 will be a major landmark in the eVan market. He says a volume fleet, most likely from one of the PLCs currently trialling the vans, is sure to launch used electric OEM vans as a real alternative to fossil fuels, with a viable dealer and charging network to follow.

“2014 will likely be seen as a tipping point for eVans as the new market volumes grow, so the firm foundations will be laid for the used vehicle marketplace,” he said.

 

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