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There is a revolution taking place in the panel van market. Since the advent of Covid-19 and the boom in online shopping deliveries, transport operators are looking for the most effective way of getting deliveries to final destinations. Up to now, conventional panel vans have been used. However, more companies are now phasing out traditional diesel and petrol panel vans. They are introducing more cost-effective electric panel vans in their delivery fleets to save on vehicle maintenance and huge fuel bills.
Electric panel vans aren’t a new phenomenon. Bedford tested several electric panel vans in the 1980s. However, battery technology has progressed, especially over the past ten years. Increased battery capacity offers longer ranges, making electric panel vans an excellent alternative to traditional transportation options for last-mile deliveries.
Today’s battery-electric panel vans are designed to focus on last-mile delivery services. In this role, the electric panel van offers a zero-emissions journey for a parcel’s trip from the distribution center to its final destination. The benefits are huge for air pollution, particularly in urban areas.
In June, AEVERSA (Applied Electric Vehicle Energy Reticulation Systems Africa) launched its exciting new battery-electric panel van at the Futuroad Expo in Gauteng. Industry representatives who attend this class-leading event yearly were amazed by the innovation and progress in the CEV (Commercial Electric Vehicle) market over the past few years.
“The introduction of our new panel van created tremendous interest from logistics- and supply-chain managers, e-commerce distributors and value-chain investors. Showgoers were astonished by the savings and benefits electric panels vans offer,” says Rick Franz, CEO of AEVERSA.
Franz explains that battery-electric vehicles are potentially more reliable and less expensive to maintain with fewer moving parts than their ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) counterparts. “Fueling battery-electric vehicles is also cheaper, as electricity rates are far more predictable than the oil price.”
AEVERSA, a pioneer in the new-energy transport market, consults the industry on the best ways to convert to battery-electric vehicles. The company offers a “complete solution” from specifying the required vehicles to planning and installing charging infrastructure. Its product offering includes maintenance and flexible financing options for infrastructure and vehicles.
AEVERSA introduced its first CEV, a JAC N55 EV 3-tonne truck, into transport fleets during the first semester of 2021 and achieved massive savings compared to conventional ICE trucks. This great cost-saving led to the introduction of its first battery-electric panel van into its transport fleet to compare its performance against conventional panel vans.
“Our new panel van is a real winner. It is suitable for a range of last-mile deliveries, providing a reliable, economical and safe solution to transport operators. Compared to conventional panel vans, our panel van has a 70 percent lower maintenance cost and achieves a 40 to 60 percent lower fuel/energy cost when charged from our ecosystem infrastructure,” says Franz.
AEVERSA also plans and installs charging ecosystem infrastructure, including fleet and energy optimisation monitoring software. The charging infrastructure is powered by solar energy or any alternative energy source and uses stationary energy storage facilities. The management software enables operators to optimise their fleets’ energy consumption, schedule charging times and monitor vehicle maintenance to minimise downtime.
“Five years ago, the idea of an electric panel van that could compete with an ICE option was a pipe dream. However, battery-electric panel vans make more and more sense each year as battery ranges improve and payload capacities increase,” says Franz.
AEVERSA’s new panel van features an air-conditioner and a legal seating arrangement for the driver and five passengers. When standard European CCS2-Combo connections are used, the battery recharges to 100 percent in only 90 minutes, allowing for a 350 km operating range per charge.
“AEVERSA’s product solutions are extremely relevant in modern-day transport, particularly with the constant increase in fuel and maintenance costs of traditional ICE vehicles that directly impact the total cost of ownership of transport fleets,” concludes Franz.