UNTIL recently, electric LCVs (e-LCVs) were considered somewhat of a fantasy. Batteries weren’t powerful enough – and were too big and cumbersome – to allow for proper cargo transportation.

But manufacturers have since cracked those problems. Advancements in battery technology have made electric LCVs just as viable as electric cars, and as such, there’s a growing number of models available. Then there’s the financial incentives: a 0% Benefit-in-Kind tax on zero emission, fully electric vans, making e-LCVs more affordable than ever for those businesses who allow private use of vans.

Then why, with a greater choice of vehicles and cost savings, are they still not on a parallel trajectory with EVs? Some experts would even argue that they’re four to five years behind.

What’s more, the need for greener vans has never been greater. We live in an age of increasing home deliveries, where consumers want products now, not tomorrow. LeasePlan’s Mobility Insights Report found that 47% of people are now more likely to use online shopping and opt for home delivery for discretionary spending. This means more LCVs on the road, more stops, and more journeys to and from the depot. Naturally, all of this will have an impact on local air quality.

But meeting recent booming demand for online shopping and delivery services doesn’tCitroen int necessarily mean sacrificing air quality in our towns and cities. That’s according to our latest LCV report, which found that e-LCVs have, as a matter of fact, come a long way to meet that demand.

There are three main trends that have influenced this uptake: low emission zones, local and sustainable city hubs alongside the increase in last mile delivery, and digital applications helping to create a more optimised delivery process through telematics.

Yet, there is still a long way to go in making e-LCVs the default option. There is a need for a catalyst that pushes eLCVs over the tipping point.

Range anxiety continues to be a sticking point for many fleet decision makers but vans like the Citroen e-Dispatch can help alleviate that, given that 50% of all LCVs travel less than 62 miles a day on average, plus there’s a fast-growing network of over 20,000 charge points around the country.

Then there’s the perceived barrier of cost. While it’s true that e-LCVs are still comparatively expensive to their ICE equivalent from a capital cost perspective, many fleet operators find that the total cost of ownership is less. For this reason, many large fleets are already getting ahead and making the transition.

As for the e-Dispatch, businesses will most likely want to pay extra for the larger 75kWh battery, which brings greater range – 211 miles quoted is one of the longest of any electric van on the market. Our overnight charge-ups registered up to 220 miles indicated of range and then it comes down to how you use the vehicle. A full charge on a 7.5kW wall charger takes around 11 hours.

Citroen loadAn 11kW on-board charger is available for an extra £300 bringing down the charging time for the big battery to seven hours if you find a suitable charger.

Weight is generally recognised as a battery killer, so loaded up to its maximum will have some effect, although nothing drastic according to the manufacturer. Plenty of hills around where we are and that’s another factor – you don’t always make up on the way down what you lose on the way up.