Electric Vans (EVs) for Van Life: Are They Viable Yet And Other Tips

Electric Vans (EVs) for Van Life: Are They Viable Yet And Other Tips

Aug 20, 2023

In recent years, the automotive industry has witnessed a monumental shift towards battery electric vehicles (EVs) as a more sustainable and environmentally friendly mode of transportation.

While electric cars have garnered significant attention, the spotlight is now expanding to encompass electric vans (EVs), which hold immense promise for both businesses and individuals.

In this comprehensive blog post, we will delve deeply into the viability of electric vans, meticulously comparing them to their conventional counterparts, and provide indispensable tips for making a seamless and successful transition to electric vans.

The Viability Of Electric Vans For Longterm Van Life Living

Electric van models are no longer a rarity in the automotive market. Leading automakers have keenly recognized the growing demand for emission-free commercial vehicles, and as a result, an impressive array of electric van options have rapidly emerged.

Renowned companies such as Tesla, Ford, Mercedes-Benz, and Nissan Leaf have not only ventured into this segment but have also introduced plug in hybrid vehicles that offer remarkable cargo capacities and highly competitive driving ranges.

When scrutinizing specifications, electric vans notably showcase significant advancements. For instance, the electric Ford Transit boasts an estimated range of over 120 miles on a single charge, rendering it perfectly suitable for urban deliveries and short-haul transportation needs.

Additionally, electric vans have made substantial strides in addressing a primary concern for businesses heavily reliant on vans: cargo capacity. These electric models are quickly catching up with their conventional counterparts in terms of both cargo space and capacity.

An instrumental factor in enhancing the capabilities of electric vans is the evolution of battery technology. Lithium-ion battery, which powers the majority of EVs, has become increasingly efficient and cost-effective.

This development has enabled electric vans to deliver performance that is not only on par with traditional vans but also exceeds expectations in terms of range and payload capacity.

Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) Analysis

A pivotal argument in favor of transitioning to electric vans lies in the potential for substantial long-term cost savings. While it is true that electric vans often come with higher initial price tags than their gasoline or diesel counterparts, a closer analysis of the total cost of ownership (TCO) unveils a much more compelling narrative.

When calculating TCO, it is imperative to consider a multitude of factors, including the upfront purchase cost, ongoing maintenance expenses, and fueling outlays.

Electric vans boast a simpler mechanical structure with fewer moving parts than conventional vehicles, resulting in reduced maintenance needs and subsequently, lower associated costs.

Furthermore, the cost of electricity required to charge an electric van is significantly lower when juxtaposed with the expenses associated with gasoline or diesel fuel, leading to substantial savings over an extended period.

The allure of adopting electric vans is further bolstered by the plethora of incentives and grants provided by governments and local authorities.

These incentives are thoughtfully designed to encourage the widespread adoption of cleaner transportation alternatives and can significantly bridge the price differential between electric and conventional vans.

Environmental Benefits

Amidst growing concerns about the ecological impact of transportation, the environmental advantages of electric vans are undeniably appealing. Conventional vans powered by internal combustion engines contribute significantly to air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.

On the contrary, electric vans generate zero emissions, resulting in an immediate enhancement of air quality and a discernible reduction in the carbon footprint.

Transitioning to electric vans inherently provides businesses with an opportunity to actively exhibit their dedication to sustainability.

By embracing these environmentally responsible choices, businesses can not only attract and resonate with environmentally conscious customers but also augment their brand image.

As corporate social responsibility assumes increasing importance, adopting electric vans positions businesses as trailblazers in their respective industries and contributes to the creation of a cleaner, more sustainable future.

Tips for a Successful Transition to Electric Vans

Embarking on the journey of transitioning to electric vans necessitates a comprehensive understanding of your specific requirements.

A judicious assessment of typical driving routes, daily mileage demands, and cargo capacity needs is an essential preliminary step. Different electric van models offer varying ranges and cargo capacities.

Thus, selecting the model that seamlessly aligns with your distinctive needs and operations becomes quintessential.

Charging Infrastructure

The cornerstone of a successful electric van adoption lies in the establishment of a robust charging infrastructure. Depending on your usage patterns, you may need to invest in home charging stations, workplace chargers, or leverage the accessibility of public charging networks.

Diligent and meticulous planning of the charging infrastructure ensures that your fleet of electric vans remains operationally robust and resilient, steering clear of potential disruptions due to charging constraints.

In many regions, governments and organizations are actively incentivizing the installation of charging stations, thereby significantly alleviating the financial burden associated with establishing a comprehensive charging network.

Mitigating Range Anxiety

The phenomenon of range anxiety, which entails apprehensions about depleting battery power before reaching a charging station, is a commonly voiced concern among battery electric vehicle owners.

However, with rapid strides in battery technology and the concurrent improvement in charging infrastructure, the apprehension surrounding range anxiety is progressively diminishing.

To effectively mitigate range anxiety, the adoption of efficient driving habits is highly recommended.

Strategies such as practicing gentle acceleration, harnessing the potential of regenerative braking, and adhering to moderate speeds can collectively contribute to optimizing the range of your electric van.

Additionally, acquainting yourself with the locations of charging stations along your customary routes empowers you to strategically plan your charging stops, thereby alleviating any residual concerns.

Fleet Management and Integration

For businesses contemplating the transition of their entire fleet to electric vans, comprehensive fleet management and seamless integration are paramount.

Specialized fleet management software can be instrumental in optimizing routes, schedules, and charging patterns, ultimately culminating in heightened efficiency and reduced operational costs.

The analysis of data pertaining to driving behavior, energy consumption, and maintenance requisites empowers businesses to make informed decisions that optimize the performance of their electric fleet.

Maintenance and Service

Electric vans are characterized by their simplified drivetrains, which inherently comprise fewer moving components in comparison to their traditional counterparts.

This intrinsic simplicity translates to significantly reduced maintenance needs, thereby culminating in lower maintenance expenses and a markedly diminished frequency of visits to the repair workshop.

Regular maintenance practices, such as diligent monitoring of battery health and vigilant tracking of tire pressure, remain integral to ensuring the sustained and optimal performance of electric vans.

An additional advantage intrinsic to electric van ownership is the emergence of mobile service options. These specialized service offerings encompass technicians who are adept at performing maintenance tasks and effecting repairs at your location. This not only minimizes downtime but also augments convenience.

Resale Value and Long-Term Considerations

Apprehensions concerning the resale value of electric vans are valid, especially given the rapid evolution of battery technology.

However, as the electric vehicle market matures, the resale market for used electric vans is anticipated to flourish. Batteries are consistently advancing in terms of both longevity and performance, alleviating concerns about their long-term viability.

Electric vans, with their lower operating costs, inherent sustainability, and potential for reduced maintenance expenses, undeniably hold the potential to emerge as financially prudent choices over the long term.

The inclusion of the evolving electric vehicle market dynamics and the positive trajectory of battery technology is crucial in the comprehension of the sustained and enhanced viability of electric vans.

The Electric Van Revolution in Camper Vans

The allure of embarking on nomadic adventures and exploring the great outdoors has led to the enduring popularity of camper vans. These versatile vehicles offer a home on wheels, enabling travelers to experience the thrill of the open road while enjoying the comforts of home.

With the rise of the electric van revolution, camper van enthusiasts now have the opportunity to embrace sustainability without compromising on their wanderlust.

Major automakers and specialized conversion companies are venturing into the realm of electric camper vans. Brands like Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz, and Ford are introducing electric van models that are tailored for camping and recreational use.

These electric camper vans retain the functionality and charm of traditional camper vans while harnessing the power of clean and efficient electric propulsion.

Benefits of Electric Camper Vans

Eco-Friendly Adventure: One of the primary benefits of electric camper vans is their reduced carbon footprint. With zero tailpipe emissions, these vehicles contribute to preserving the natural landscapes that adventurers seek to explore.

Quieter Journeys: Electric propulsion significantly reduces noise pollution, allowing travelers to immerse themselves in the tranquility of nature without the hum of a traditional engine.

Lower Operating Costs: While the upfront cost of electric camper vans may be higher, the lower operating and maintenance costs over time can lead to considerable savings. Electric powertrains have fewer moving parts, translating to reduced maintenance needs and fewer visits to the repair shop.

Home Charging Convenience: Electric camper vans can be conveniently charged at home or at campsites equipped with charging stations, eliminating the need to search for gas stations in remote areas.

Enhanced Interior Space: Electric powertrains have a smaller physical footprint than internal combustion engines, allowing for more creative interior layouts and additional storage space.

Tips for Embracing the Electric Camper Van Lifestyle

Know Your Range: Familiarize yourself with the electric camper van's driving range and plan your routes accordingly. Consider the locations of charging stations along your route to ensure you have access to power when needed.

Plan Charging Stops: Research campgrounds and destinations that offer charging infrastructure. Plan your itinerary around these locations to ensure a seamless charging experience.

Pack Light and Efficiently: Since camper vans have limited cargo capacity, packing efficiently is crucial. Opt for lightweight and compact camping gear to maximize space and minimize energy consumption.

Utilize Solar Power: Many electric camper vans are equipped with solar panels on their roofs. Utilize this renewable energy source to power interior lights, appliances, and charge auxiliary batteries.

Learn Efficient Driving Habits: Practice efficient driving habits such as gentle acceleration, regenerative braking, and maintaining a steady speed to extend your electric camper van's range.

Stay Informed: Keep up-to-date with the latest advancements in electric vehicle technology and charging infrastructure. As the electric van revolution evolves, new options and solutions may become available to enhance your camper van experience.


The electric car and van revolution is reshaping the landscape of transportation, extending its influence into the realm of camper vans. As travelers and adventurers embrace the benefits of electric camper vans, they not only embark on journeys of exploration but also contribute to the preservation of the natural beauty they seek to enjoy.

In the face of a changing climate, governments across the world are exploring ways to reduce carbon emissions and reduce society's reliance on fossil fuels.

With increased access to charging infrastructure, advancements in battery technology, and the dedication of automakers to sustainable mobility, the electric camper van revolution is poised to redefine the way we experience travel and adventure.

In addition to the unequivocal contributions to environmental preservation, electric vans promise substantial cost savings and the prospect of innovation.

So, whether you're a seasoned camper or an aspiring nomad, consider joining the electric van revolution to embark on sustainable and unforgettable journeys.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is an electric camper van, and how does it differ from traditional camper vans?

An electric camper van is a recreational vehicle that combines the functionality of a traditional camper van with an electric powertrain.

Unlike conventional camper vans powered by internal combustion engine, electric camper vans use electric motor and lithium ion batteries for propulsion.

This means they produce zero tailpipe emissions, resulting in a more environmentally friendly and quieter travel experience.

Are electric camper vans suitable for long-distance travel?

Yes, many electric camper vans are designed to accommodate long-distance travel. The driving range of electric camper vans has been steadily improving with advancements in battery technology.

However, it's essential to plan your routes carefully, considering the availability of charging infrastructure along your journey. With proper planning, electric camper vans can handle various terrains and provide a comfortable travel experience for long distances.

How do I charge an electric camper van while on the road?

Charging an electric camper van while on the road can be done at various locations, such as public charging stations connected with electricity grid, RV parks, and campgrounds equipped with charging facilities.

Some electric camper vans also come with solar panels on their roofs, allowing you to harness solar energy to charge auxiliary batteries and power interior appliances.

It's recommended to research charging options along your route and plan your stops accordingly.

Are electric camper vans more expensive to purchase and maintain?

Electric camper vans generally have a higher upfront purchase cost compared to traditional camper vans due to the cost of batteries and electric drivetrain components.

However, they often offer lower operating and maintenance costs over time. Electric powertrains have fewer moving parts, reducing the likelihood of mechanical issues and lowering maintenance expenses.

Additionally, the cost of electricity for charging is typically lower than the cost of gasoline or diesel fuel.

Can I customize the interior of an electric camper van to suit my needs?

Yes, many electric camper vans offer flexible interior layouts that can be customized to fit your specific needs.

The compact nature of electric powertrains often allows for more creative interior design options, maximizing space for living, sleeping, and storage.

Some manufacturers and conversion companies offer customizable options for interior features, furniture, and appliances, allowing you to create a personalized and comfortable living space on wheels.