The British chain of supermarkets Tesco won an award for upgrading the home delivery fleet with EV vans. Their chosen partner was a Coventry-based firm called Modec. So we decided to investigate a little bit more about Modec and their models.
First of all, is EV a viable option for vans? The answer from Modec is yes: With a 100-mile range, it can work for home delivery in cities, because EVs don't idle - so it's a good option for stop & go traffic and for frequent stops to proceed with delivery. Modec offers an impressive payload: 2 tons, although the vehicle has 3.5 tons of curb weight already.
The Modec vans offer a maximum speed of 50 mph, and acceleration from 0 to 30 in 11 secons (this is no Tesla Roadster!), with a torque of 300 Nm (221 lb-ft) and 102 HP. The 100-mile range is obtained running at maximum load and speed, so Modec claims that real-life situations might be even better.
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As a van, the important thing is the volume available for loads: 12 m3 (424 cu. ft.) obtained from a standard model (they custom build them as well) from an over all dimension of 2 m wide (79 in.), 6 m long (236 in.) and 2.6 m high (8'6") in 3 different bodies adapted to the buyer's choice
Not much information is given from the batteries, besides that they built the van around them. But their scheme for buying the vehicle is quite interesting: The vehicle costs (with charger) 31,000 GBP (around 60,000 USD) but customers have to lease the batteries at 400 GBP (800 dollars) a month for an estimated 18,000 miles per year with a 8-year long contract. This is something like it's rumored for the Chevy Volt.
The estimated cost of a charge is 5 GBP. So is it cost-effective? Besides the famous Congestion Charge, diesel prices in the UK are quite high (a little less than 1 GBP per liter, that is like 7.5 USD per US gallon) and there's also Road Tax. According to their calculations: 20,000 miles with a diesel van that returns 20mpg (16 US mpg) implies using 1000 gallons of fuel a year (1200 US gallons). That makes 4,500 GBP per year (roughly 9000 USD).