The trial by Arval showed that, over the same 33.58-mile course, an EV with a full payload lost over 85% of its range compared to a 45% loss for one that was carrying nothing.
Eddie Parker, commercial vehicle consultant at Arval UK, said: “This is a great example of the operational factors that fleets looking at operating electric vans may have to consider.
“The loss of range is significant at almost 50% and shows that, if you were expecting a fully laden EV commercial vehicle to reach anywhere near the stated range, then you would be disappointed.”
However, Parker added: “The fact is that, in general use, few vans of this type would ever be fully laden. A typical load for most uses would be much nearer the 50% mark, where the loss of range is much less pronounced. For this reason, we believe the study shows that there is a wider application for EVs than may at first have been thought.
“Of course, all vehicles lose range when fully laden. A diesel van with a full payload would typically see its range reduced by around 35%, for example.”
The 35.58-mile test route was designed to represent typical van use, and consisted of 16.8% urban road, 32.5% suburban/rural, 21.5% carriageway and 29.2% motorway, with the van travelling at between 30 and 70mph. The EV was used by the same driver, at the same time of day, with air conditioning and non-essential electrics turned off.
Parker added: “It could be that if, as EVs develop, this kind of range loss is found to be typical then factors that help to extend range, such as driver training, could become a more important element of fleet operation.”