How to maximise electric van range

Looking to make the switch to electric, but worried you might end up stranded with a flat battery?

While these fears may have been founded on reality just a few years ago, electric van technology has improved vastly in a short space of time.

With the average electric van range hovering around the 160-mile mark, you’ll have no issues driving electric instead of diesel – unless you’re regularly trying to get from Lands End to John O’ Groats. 

But there are ways you can maximise the range of your electric van, and get the most out of its battery capacity.

And with the benefits – zero emissions, lower running costs, helping your business to hit its sustainability targets – often outweighing the negatives, it’s definitely worth considering an electric van lease.

Citroen e-Berlingo

How is electric van range calculated?

Since 2017, all EVs have had their best potential range calculated using a system called the Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP).

WLTP testing uses real data to measure the performance of each van, and studies the energy consumption under real-world conditions, including cities and countryside, as well as main roads and motorways. This gives the most accurate calculation of the maximum distance that particular van will be able to travel.

However, actual ‘real-world’ driving will be different to test conditions, and you will find that your maximum mileage is lower than the WLTP claimed range. 

For the longest range, you’ll want to look for a van with a larger battery size. 

Battery capacity is measured in kilowatt hours (kWh), and they can vary in size, with the most common varying between 35kWh and 88kWh. An 88kWh battery will allow you to travel significantly further than a 35kWh battery.

What factors affect electric van range?

There are many factors that affect electric van range outside of the battery capacity.

Every manufacturer publishes their WLTP-claimed mileage, but these tests are conducted under the most ideal driving conditions. And unfortunately, day to day life is never generally ideal.

There are a variety of factors that can impact the range of your electric van, including:

  • Battery capacity
  • Cargo weight
  • The weather
  • Driving style
  • Air conditioning and heating
  • Tyre quality
Renault Master e-tech

What is range anxiety?

Range anxiety is the fear that your EV won’t be able to travel long distances on a single charge.

It was more applicable when electric cars and vans first started appearing on our roads, and their ranges were around or under the 100-mile mark and the charging infrastructure.

It’s not such a big deal now; the majority of EVs have a range that far exceeds the average miles driven per day.

In fact, research carried out by GRIDSERVE has shown that van drivers typically travel around 49 miles a day, and half of those studied stay within 15 miles of their base.

Unless you’re trucking up and down the country regularly, you’ll have no issues with the range on the vast majority of electric vans, especially if you can charge up each evening.

How to maximise electric van range

Here are six ways you can maximise your electric van range:

  1. Choosing a model with a larger battery
  2. Reducing cargo weight
  3. Avoiding extreme weather conditions as much as possible
  4. Watching the way you drive
  5. Limiting air con and heating use
  6. Maintaining and servicing tyres

In essence, doing the opposite of the things that reduce electric range will instead maximise electric range and eke every last mile out of the battery.

The obvious one will always be selecting a van with a larger battery capacity. Many vans have a choice between two different batteries, so if you like driving a particular model, make sure you opt for the battery that will suit yours and your business’ needs. 

We’ve listed some of the most popular vans and their ranges below to help you make this all-important decision.

However, there are other ways to make the most of the battery capacity.

Reducing cargo weight where you can, like not carrying around a whole load of tools you don’t actually need to use that day, will help. The lighter your van is, the more mileage you’ll get out of the battery. Limiting your use of the air con and the heating will also prevent these systems from draining the battery.

If it’s a really cold morning, you can precondition your van while it’s still plugged in and charging to heat the cabin up the way you like it, so you can always get into a toasty van without having to compromise on the mileage you’ll get that day. 

And simply making sure you’re maintaining good tyre health and not braking too harshly or accelerating too fast will also help to maximise the electric range of your van

Peugeot e-Expert

Popular electric van ranges

Small van ranges

  • Renault Kangoo e-tech: 195 miles
  • Citroen e-Berlingo: 180 miles
  • Peugeot e-Partner: 171 miles
  • Toyota Proace City Electric: 168 miles

Medium van ranges

  • Peugeot e-Expert: 148-211 miles
  • Citroen e-Dispatch: 205-211 miles
  • Maxus eDELIVER 3: 99-213 miles
  • Vauxhall Vivaro Electric: 143-205 miles
  • Toyota Proace Electric: 142-205 miles

Large van ranges

  • Maxus eDELIVER 9: 147-219 miles
  • Fiat e-Ducato: 142-230 miles
  • Ford e-Transit: 196 miles

Ready to make the switch to zero-emissions driving?

Beth Twigg

Beth Twigg

Beth is our Content and Paid Media Specialist, tasked with creating great articles to keep you both entertained and informed. She has two years previous experience, but has been writing and scribbling for much longer.