So far, vans have remained on the slow track to electrification. Vans are the road transport mode with the fastest growing emissions: +63% in 2019 compared to 1990, and they account for 11% of road transport oil demand. While the 2020/21 light-duty CO2 standards increased battery-electric car sales from 2% in 2019 to 9% in 2021, the e-van market lags behind at 3% in 2021 due to much lower standards. The ongoing revision of van CO2 standards as part of the EU climate package represents an important opportunity to accelerate this transition and align vans with the EU Green Deal ambition.
Furthermore, given the ongoing conflict in Ukraine and the fact that EU vans consume 210 million barrels of oil each year, reducing EU oil dependence and accelerating the transition to electric vans is now more important than ever. As co-legislators in the European Parliament and Member States debate CO2 standards, T&E has examined the current van market and the economics of electric vans, demonstrating that the market and van users are ready for this transformation.
The vast majority of new vans are registered by commercial users, who base their vehicle purchases on total cost of ownership (TCO), which includes vehicle purchase, operating, and maintenance costs. As a result, if and when electric vans become less expensive than diesel vans on a TCO basis, van buyers will prefer electric vans over diesel vans, assuming no major operational constraints exist.
T&E modelled the TCO of diesel and electric vans for six end-user groups (business-to-consumer and business-to-business transporters, vocational users, short-term rental services, lessees, and private users) in six countries (France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Spain, and the United Kingdom) to assess TCO parity. Inputs for van use by user group are derived from a separate Dataforce survey.
When purchase subsidies are considered, electric vans are already the cheapest option for all user groups considered in all six countries. The average EU electric van is 25% less expensive than the average diesel van (0.15 €/km versus 0.20 €/km for the diesel van). Even after excluding purchase subsidies, electric vans are already less expensive on a TCO basis in five of the six countries studied (and are cheaper in all countries and for all user groups by 2024 at the latest).