Electric Van Man, Paul Kirby, from the EV Café tells us about the present and future possibilities of using electric vans to deliver event stock.
EV Café started during the first wave of the pandemic to provide a community for those wanting to transition to an electric vehicle and air any questions on the subject. Paul Kirby, Commercial Director at EV Café, otherwise known as the Electric Van Man, is widely recognised as a front runner in the electrification of the van sector. Paul also runs his own consultancy, media, and training business EV Essentials LTD and is the go-to contact for Fully Charged – Robert Llewelleyn’s global YouTube and podcasting sensation for EV’s and clean energy.
Hi Paul! Can you tell us about the current advantages and drawbacks of using electric vans in the event industry?
From a dependability point of view, electric vehicles are less likely to go wrong. So, in your average diesel vehicle there’s around 2,000 moving parts. In an electric vehicle, however, there are around 20 moving parts, so what’s going to go wrong first? Well, probably the one with the 2,000 parts rather than the 20 moving part vehicle!
The electric vehicle is going to be much better, and much more reliable. When they go wrong, they go wrong, just like everything else. Just like your toaster at home might go wrong, but when’s the last time your fridge broke down? Very rarely. And it’s always on and it’s always doing a job.
Now, there’s still challenges with charging infrastructure, and you don’t go into that thinking, ‘Oh, it’ll be fine.’ You plan and you make sure that you’ve done your due diligence about if chargers will be available when you get somewhere, is there somewhere on the way, and what happens if something goes wrong. It’s about having a plan A and a plan B and, and these things can be easily tackled.
How do you advise event companies to transition into using an EV?
It’s a really important question to ask, because not everybody can jump to electric straight away because they are more expensive upfront. Get to the auction house or get on Autotrader, you’ll find electric vans which came from companies who have tried them and have not employed the right mindset: mindset is everything.
After you’ve built a foundation of knowledge, if there is a way that the company can begin to take on a lease, or a short-term lease, to test and see if the vehicle works for them, that will begin the transition process. There are a number of companies around the country that are able to provide vehicles for one month or more so that people can kind of go ‘right, okay, I’ve got a few events on let’s see
if this can work’ and they’re reasonably competitive costs too.
There is a higher cost of buying, but then there’s a lower cost of fuelling those vehicles. So, what I would suggest to a smaller business with less income who are managing smaller budgets is to look at the total cost of ownership.
Will electric vans be able to carry the same amount of weight as a diesel van?
The vans themselves are exactly the same in terms of physical space. That’s not going to change. If it was 17 cubic metres before it will be 17 cubic metres afterwards, that bit has been protected. The payload is the one thing that’s critical. There is a mile range and payload compromise to consider. There are two battery sizes of 50 and 75. And the difference between those two vehicles is 50 miles extra range on the 75, and 200 kilos more payload on the 50. So, what do you need more range or more payload?
Van for the job
Hospitality and Events North checked out the 2022 Ford E-TransitTM, which offers great features, configurability and work-ready accessories, supported by the Ford Pro ecosystem of end-to- end charging, telematics, service and financing.
We know the flexibility event organisers and suppliers need, and E-Transit is available in eight different configurations, including three roof heights and three body lengths, plus cutaway and chassis cab versions to fulfil multiple applications. E-Transit can be further customized with the addition of vocational bodies (on chassis cab and cutaway) and equipment like ladder racks and interior bulkhead and storage solutions.