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      Electric vans available in the UK in 2018

      Electric vans available in the UK in 2018

      With revolutionaries like Elon Musk in the world showing us the way to a greener future with our vehicles, it comes as no surprise that the world’s largest van manufacturers are following suit.  Volkswagen, Ford, Mercedes, Iveco, Peugeot and Nissan to name a few are offering commercial vehicles that appeal to businesses with an ecological sway.

      At present electric van sales make up a tiny fraction of van purchases here in the UK but over the next few years they’ll be making their mark on the industry becoming an everyday sight on our roads. Pollution, especially in our cities, is at an all-time high so like the Tesla’s, the trademark electric whistle of the motors will quickly become the norm from our passing tradesmen and couriers alike.

      Ultra Low Emission Zones

      It’s not just those with a naturally green approach to business who will be buying the electric vans either. Boris Johnsons ULEZ scheme will be hitting the diesel vehicle drivers in the pocket if they choose to enter a low emission zone if the vehicle doesn’t comply with the Euro 6 emissions policy.

      Pioneering car brands Nissan and Renault have capitalised on their already largely adopted electric car technology and are leading the way with the Nissan e-NV200 and the Peugeot Kangoo ZE offerings and while they have dominated the market up until this point, the competition has woken up and things are about to get very interesting.

      What vans are available?

      There certainly isn’t the abundance of electrical vehicles on offer to match that of diesel vehicles but the table will be turning soon enough, and this list will be growing exponentially over the next few years.

      Right now though, if you’re thinking of making a greener van purchase, these are your options:

      Nissan e-NV200

      Nissan tout this as the van to have if you make early morning deliveries due to its near silent running. Easy loading access offered through the sliding side and rear fold out doors. An extremely popular choice having been available since 2016 it was the most popular purchase in the van world for 2016 and 2017 running.

      Features

      • Payload: 770KG
      • Range: 67 miles
      • We like: Hill start. Single shift transmission

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      Renault Kangoo ZE 33

      The upgraded version of the Kangoo gives a much better range at 170 miles making this a practical choice for a potential buyer. All e-vehicles are quiet but the Kangoo offers a pedestrian alarm between 1 and 19mph which comes in extremely handy for safety when in the busy streets of the city.

      Features

      • Payload: 640KG
      • Range: 170 miles
      • We like: Voice recognition for navigation, safety feature for pedestrians at low speed.

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      Citroen Berlingo e-Van

      The standard Berlingo is a class leader in the small van range and the electric version is no different. Electric windows, doors, mirrors and Bluetooth / MP3 all as standard.

      Despite its cute size the passenger seat folds down and takes the load length from 1.8m and 2.05m (model dependent) to a whopping 4.4m. The middle seat also folds down to a desk which is a pretty neat feature for any paperwork you might need to do on the road.

      Features

      • Payload: 636KG
      • Range: 108miles
      • We like: Long load length option and electrics spec

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      eDucato Cargo

      The eDucato offers 7 load volume options and has payload availability from 821KG up to 1267KG which is pretty staggering given the larger is part of the 3500KG class and the batteries for these vehicles weigh so much.

      Features

      • Payload: 821-1267KG
      • Range: 125miles (dependent on no. batteries)
      • We like: Vehicle load volume options

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      Iveco Daily Electric

      The beauty of the Iveco lies in its heart – the battery. With fast charge times and a heater pump to ensure no battery performance degradation in cold weather, this is the van you can rely on. And what’s more the batterie(s) (you can have 1-3 dependent on spec) are fully recyclable. This is what we like to see!

      Multimedia is taken care of with the inclusion of a 7” detachable tablet and best in class technology – ‘Tom Tom Bridge For Iveco’.

      Features

      • Payload: 1000KG
      • Range: 174miles (dependent on no. batteries)
      • We like: The battery – general spec

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      Electric Vans coming to the UK very soon

      Mercedes e-Sprinter (Available 2019)

      Features

      • Payload: 1250KG
      • Range: 68miles (dependent on no. batteries)

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      Volkswagen e-Crafter

       

      Features

      • Purported to be one of the toughest vans in class
      • Nice interior

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      Mercedes e-Vito

       

      Features

      • Payload: An incredible 1000KG
      • Range: 60-90 miles

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      Pro’s and cons of Electric Vehicles

      The Good

      • Eco-friendliness – electric cars are good for the environment. The huge spike in pollution over the last 10-15 years has been from Diesel cars. Originally posed as the more efficient and hardy engine in comparison to that of the petrol engine, the nitrous oxide bye product of diesel combustion engines is extremely harmful to our ozone layer AND directly to those that breath it in. Electric cars fuel off the mains electricity supply which is a much cleaner power source.
      • Silence – the world is a noisy place and let’s face it, we could all do with a little less noise in our day to day lives. Electrical cars have extremely quiet and efficient motors meaning there is far less friction and noise!
      • Incentives – the government is offering 20% up to a whopping £8000 as part of their plug-in van grant scheme. The government are serious about pollution so take advantage of this incentive while it’s available.
      • Running costs – wear and tear on e-vans is much lower than that of diesel vans due to smoother mechanics and less moving parts. The cost of electricity per mile is considerably less than that of diesel also.
      • Performance – most vans offer smooth automatic gear changes and unrivalled torque meaning they are not only efficient but practical too.
      • Reliability – Due to there being fewer moving parts in the vehicle drive chain and motors, these vans rarely break down. You can keep your business going all day everyday meaning no loss of earnings.

       

      The Not So Good

      • Cost – like anything in this world, when it’s a brand new and revolutionary product, prices are always high at the start and as people start to buy them they come down in price. That said, you can pick up the Berlingo for around £16,000 so already things aren’t looking too bad.
      • Charging – Nobody wants to wait 40 minutes to get a partial charge on their van so it takes one to be organised to ensure you’re not left high and dry part way through your working day. The actual time to charge depends on the power of the charger you’re using. For a typical 3 pin UK plug in you would need all day to charge most vans whereas for a DC charger you can get a 75% charge in just 40 minutes.
      • Charging Stations – You’re never usually further than a mile from a petrol fuel station – that can’t be said for electrical charging stations but these are definitely on the rise – see here for a map of where you can charge whilst out on the road. ZapMap gives you live info on where you can charge, how many charge points and whether they’re in use.
      • Weight –  for vans, weight can be an issue, especially as you reach the 3500KG gross class. The batteries for electric cars and vans are extremely heavy which eats into the payload budget for the larger vans. Whilst they may be perfectly able to carry more weight, legally they cannot. This is something that is under review by the government.
      • Range – Something that you can see from the above varies hugely from vehicle to vehicle. Manufacturer claims are wildly inaccurate so as a rule of thumb knock off 20-25% and that will be your true mileage per battery charge. That said, most vans even at this early stage will cope with the majority of distance demands in day to day jobs – it’s when you start looking at doing North to South trips that the electric option falls down.
      • Residual values – with uncertainty in the van market at this point in time second hand resale values of electric vans are lower than that of the equivalent diesels. Hopefully this will change as mind sets are altered.
      • Battery degradation – over time batteries lose their charge capacity. Renault offer a leased battery to try and answer the problem but it’s not had much success in changing peoples view on them. That said, most manufacturers offer an 8 year warranty on the batteries which should outlive the working life of the van.

       

      Electric Car 2018 Summery

      To summarise, electric vans are here to stay – they are very much a viable option for the likes of your local tradesmen / courier rounds where running costs and reliability are of utmost importance. The large van offerings need a little more time but maybe with the advent of the e-crafter and e-sprinter coming to market in 2019 the government will change the policy to allow increased gross weight in the 3500KG class to allow for the extra weight in the technology. All in all, saving the planet whilst reducing your business costs has to be a compelling incentive when considering your next van purchase.

      If you make the leap  of faith and purchase your dream electric van then feel free to give us a call should you wish to discuss van insurance options.

      How To Instil Trust In The Motoring Trade Industry

      How To Instil Trust In The Motoring Trade Industry

      Trust isn’t easily earned and when lost it can be very difficult to get back. It’s vital that you build and maintain trust with new and existing customers to help you grow your business but how does one go about that?

      Let’s take a look at what action you can take to improve customer trust in your motor trade business.

      1. Listen To Your Customers – Take the time to listen carefully to all your customers. Respect their time as every customer is different, this means you need to be flexible and patient in helping them to find the deal that is suitable for their needs. This can make a big difference in meeting your customers’ expectations.

      2. Providing Customers With Greater Control – In a survey of car buyers, 25% of respondents felt that the dealer had more control in arranging their finance than they did. It’s important to help your customers feel as though there isn’t any pressure to agree on a deal. If they feel the finance package you offer isn’t suitable for them. Try to be accommodating and offer to help them find alternative finance. This can be mutually beneficial for your business and the customer, by finding the right finance the customer can feel more in control, you could build a trusting relationship and potentially close that sale.

      3. Promote And Request Customer Feedback – For every customer that makes a purchase from your motor trade business, you could ask them to provide you with a short testimonial or to complete a short survey. Over time you could gain a healthy number of testimonials which you could use to display on your business premises and your website for customers to read. Even if you receive some negative feedback, this can be an opportunity to put things right and reduce the likelihood of an incident reoccurring again in the future. To improve transparency further you could even request and promote customer feedback through an third party like Trust Pilot or Reviews.co.uk.

      We do exactly that with our customers and we know that it helps both them and us stay on track.

      4. Make Contact Easy – After you’ve sold a vehicle, it’s essential that if any customers return with questions or vehicle issues, that your contact details such as an email address and telephone number are easily accessible. Whether this is online or on a client card in the motor trade premises. The after-care service for many customers is the true test of a motor trade business’s customer service. Providing a helpful and consistent customer experience can breed confidence that you’re good to do business with. Failure to resolve problems can lead to customer frustration and a lack of trust, which can harm your chances of repeat business in the future and can generate poor word of mouth.

      5 – Motor Trade Guides – Are you looking to improve more than just customer trust in your business? Then we as providers of motor trade insurance have a range of handy guides that may be of interest to you.

       

      5 Things You Need To Know About Car Maintenance

      5 Things You Need To Know About Car Maintenance

      Fact… the main reason for car breakdowns in the UK is due to battery failure accounting for 20% of faults.  So what can you do? If you maintain your car on a regular basis you can extend its lifespan, reduce repair work and improve your safety behind the wheel.

      To help keep your car in tip top shape, we’ve put together some useful tips on how to check and maintain your car.

      1. CHECKING YOUR CAR BATTERY

      Car maintenance - car bonnet lifted

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      Your car battery is particularly vulnerable to failure in the winter time. However, there are other reasons your battery can fail including:

      • A faulty battery
      • Issues with the cars charging system
      • Faulty components
      • A light being left on
      • Leaving your car unused for a while
      • Making lots of short journeys
      • Corrosion
      • High levels of heat

      Begin by inspecting the battery’s terminals and cables, ensure they are attached securely and check for any corrosion. If your battery has removable caps, make sure you check the fluid level every few months.

      You can test if your battery needs replacing by starting your car of a night time with your headlights switched on. If they are overly dim, put your car in neutral and rev the engine. Should your headlights get brighter as you press your accelerator that’s an indication that your battery is failing. Don’t delay replacing your battery if you experience any of these issues, as you’ll only increase the likelihood of your car not starting and having to call a breakdown provider.

       2. ENGINE OIL

      Your engine oil is vital in helping to keep your car running well. It works as a lubricant which both coats and cleans the moving parts in your engine. Failing to have the correct level of oil in your car can cause:

      • Increased friction
      • Engine overheating
      • Dirt build up

      Inspect your engine oil every month using your oil dipstick. If the oil is below the minimum level you’ll need to top it up. To find out the correct oil type, refer to your car handbook. If you have to top up more frequently than usual then you might have a leak and will need to take it to a garage to be looked at. For further information on checking your oil levels take a look at the video below.

      3. TYRE TREAD

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      Did you know? The minimum legal tyre tread depth for cars in the UK is 1.6mm across the central three quarters of the tyre. If your tyre tread exceeds the legal limit you’re at risk of:

      • Reduced road grip
      • An increase in stopping distance
      • Aquaplaning in wet conditions
      • Nails and other sharp items causing a puncture

      It’s vital to make monthly checks on all of your tyres tread depth. You can measure this using a tyre tread gauge so you’ll know when it’s time to have any replaced. Also this’ll reduce the chances of having to call a breakdown service.

      4. ENGINE COOLANT

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      Car engines create a great deal of energy by burning diesel or petrol. If your car runs out of engine coolant it can overheat extremely quickly, leading to mechanical breakdown and engine failure. Let’s take a look at the tell tale signs:

      • Your heater will stop working
      • The heat gauge increases into a hot setting
      • The engine light may come on at which time the head/gaskets may already be damaged

      You can prevent overheating by ensuring your car has the right level of coolant (a mixture of water and antifreeze). As a warning never undo your coolant filler cap whilst your engine is hot as you’ll be at risk of scalding yourself. When it’s cool, unscrew the cap using an old rag and check the minimum and maximum level marks. With a cold engine your coolant level should be between the two marks. If you find the level is low, top it up using a 50/50 mixture of water and antifreeze. Make sure you don’t overfill and then refit the cap securely afterwards. Make this one of your monthly checks just to be on the safe side.

      5. LIGHTS

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      Did you know that 18.4% of all cars experienced problems with the lighting and signalling during an MOT test? This can be down to simple things like blown bulbs. You can prevent this from happening by asking a friend or family member to walk around your car whilst you check the following:

      • Indicators
      • Headlights
      • Reverse lights
      • Taillights
      • Brake lights

      If you’re driving your car and you’ve an indicator that isn’t working, this can mislead other road users or pedestrians as they won’t know your road intentions which could cause an accident. Should you find any blown bulbs then these will need replacing immediately. They are fairly cheap to buy and you’ll be able to find out how to change them in your car handbook.

      Do you have any further tips on car maintenance? Let us know on our Facebook and Twitter.