Owning electric vans 25% cheaper than diesel

The average electric van in the European Union is 25% cheaper than its diesel equivalent over its lifetime, despite much higher initial costs for zero-emission models, the European campaign group Transport and Environment (T&E) said on Wednesday.

According to a survey of 745 van companies in the EU conducted for T&E by Dataforce, 84% of respondents would consider going electric – 36% already own a commercial electric van, 32% plan to buy one in 2022 and 16% are considering buying in the next five years.

T&E said lower operating costs and growing interest in electric strengthen the case for stronger CO2 emissions reductions on diesel vans than the European Commission is currently proposing.

In a study in six countries, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Spain and the United Kingdom, which account for 76% of the EU-plus-UK market for vans, T&E found that an electric van was €0.15 ( It costs $0.17) per kilometer (0.6 miles) to walk, compared to 0.2 euros for a diesel van.

Excluding government subsidies, T&E found that they were still cheaper in five countries, while in Germany operating costs were the same.

The purchase price of an electric van is 40% to 55% higher than for a diesel model, according to T&E.

Those extra upfront costs have often been a barrier for companies to switch to zero-emission models, although the total cost of ownership of an electric van, including fuel costs, has been falling for years.

Only 3% of vans sold in the EU in 2021 were fully electric, compared to 9% for passenger cars, which are subject to stricter CO2 emissions standards.

The European Commission has proposed that all new vans should be zero-emissions by 2035. But T&E said its research shows that the European Parliament and EU member states “need to deliver stronger CO2 emissions targets to accelerate the introduction of e-vans in the 2020s and early 2030s”. †