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The Council's Eco Van


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Fom today news... the council has a new eco van.




Now firstly...... I'm not knocking eco cars/vans or the council but does anyone know what sort of van they have actually bought and how much it cost before or after the grant was deducted? They don't name the manufacturer or model of the van in their press statements or on their own website and I'd like to read the spec of it.


At the moment my only reason is to compare it with the likes of the offered fuel efficient small vauxhall combos and the like :?


Might get an eco one myself if the elec and car service charges are a lot cheaper. I guess insurance must be cheaper too as if one was pinched it couldn't go very far without recharging :wink:


I had presumed it was a grant that they themselves received from the government but seems that anyone can apply and no paperwork to fill in or anything as the cost is deducted upto 25% (max ?5k) at the point of purchase.


If you fancy an eco car here's the ones currently included in the scheme but there must be others as the van is not shown.



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One word of warning Dizzy. Residuals.


Five years from now when the battery pack needs replacing at a cost of several thousand pounds, it'll have next to nothing in the way of second hand or trade-in value.


That's what a lot of Prius owners (including my Dad) are now beginning to find out.

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Oooh bet you dad is a bit p'd off :shock: Several thousand would buy a brand new normal car (unless you want a flashy one of course).


Is your dads pure electric or one of the hybrid sort that charges itself somehow so no need for plugging in and using mains elec .. and either way has he actually saved any money up until this point?


I still can't find what sort the council's odd little van is though... but after what you just said I am more intrigued now :wink:

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My Dads Prius is a hybrid which charges its batteries from its petrol engine and from energy which would otherwise be wasted in the brakes when slowing down.


It then uses its battery power to drive an electric motor when tootling round town at low speed.


He's always been dead proud of the 50-60mpg average he's been getting - until I told him that my 2.0l diesel estate car will deliver 50mpg if driven carefully, and unlike the Prius it will do 0-60mph in a shade over 8 seconds!

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Surely an all electric little van wouldn't be as complicated as your dad's hybrid though so maybe costs of it's residuals will be cheaper.


As for the hybrids 50-60mpg... mmm not really that impressive but better than the two cars we have.. but then again ours were a lot cheaper and very cheap to maintain and service so overall the jury is stil out on that one :D

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The batteries will be VERY expensive on an all-electric vehicle - and generally only reckoned to be good for a maximum of 5 years of daily charging and discharging. (plus, the batteries are made from all sorts of exotic metals and materials which have to be shipped from out of the way places all over the world, then refined, processed, etc. etc. There is some debate about whether this makes current electric vehicles LESS green than their diesel counterparts)


The electronics and recharging-the-batteries-when-braking systems are quite complex.


Mechanically, all-electric vehicles are relatively simple.


But they are currently manufactured in relatively low numbers which could be what makes them horribly expensive.


For example, the Nissan Leaf - which is a small 5 door hatchback has a list price of over ?28,000 !!




Given the range limitations and the length of time it take to "refuel" them I don't think we're anywhere near there yet technology wise. I'd like to see what the next generation of Hydrogen powered vehicles look like before spending that sort of money.

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BTW, the council's new one appears to be one of these:-




The manufacturers technical spec for the van claims a maximum range of only 40-60 miles. Plus it needs a 16 amp charging point - so can't be recharged for a normal 3 pin plug socket.


The body is made of polyester (not sure how that got through the NCAP safety ratings!).


No pricing information on the manufacturers website.

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perhaps the van is leased? The council use the van to shift documents etc. around town from department to department so I imagine that the 60 mile range will be ample. I would assume there is a charging point where they park it over night otherwise it wouldn't be much use really.


I thought that it was the Prius which breezed along blowing out a cloud of smug, seems Inky has found a better model. :D

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I'll wager it doesn't lose as much value in pounds sterling as a high end car over the same period of time. Over to BazJ . :wink:




On a 3 year Old Merc S Class, expect to lose somewhere in the order of ?30k-?50k depending on the model! :shock:

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So the council have bought a French electric vehicle. I can drive that as it is classed a quadricycle. In fact the "car" I have is a microcar which has the same engine as the aixam petrol/diesel version. Not sure if Ligier are still making them as well.


However what i cannot understand is why they have spent all this money on such a vehicle when they can get one for about ?2000.




Ok so it will only do about 20mph BUT most of the roads it will be travelling on will have 20 limits anyway so no problem there :wink:

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BTW, the council's new one appears to be one of these:-




The manufacturers technical spec for the van claims a maximum range of only 40-60 miles. Plus it needs a 16 amp charging point - so can't be recharged for a normal 3 pin plug socket.


The body is made of polyester (not sure how that got through the NCAP safety ratings!).


No pricing information on the manufacturers website.


Thanks for that Inky it was starting to bug me cos I couldn't find it :lol:


Re the charging point.. the council say they have had a seperate socket installed just for the van so they can monitor the electric usage.. so I guess what they really mean is they have had a NEW 16v charging point installed as they can't charge it otherwise... but they will still be able to monitor the costs though :wink:


Like you say no price on the manufactureres web site so presumably that allows the retailers to bump the price up prior to taking the governments 25% grant off (upto a max of ?5k) at the at point of purchase as usually happens with any sales and gimicks.


Noticed it only has a top speed of 25 - 30 mph (averages at 28mph when empty) but thats ok for pottering around town. Are they banned from motorways and dual carriageways though ?


A plus point is free road tax though and apparently it cost's 30p to fully recharge (6-8 hours)


30p for 60 miles of traveling is mega cheap... as long as you ignore all the other points you have mentioned.


I don't think I will bother with an electric or hybrid car after all as wow they are expensive to buy new.

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Evils..... I like the milk float idea. Wouldn't cost much to panel the sides in to make one into a van eh. I feel a daft project coming on, well I would if I had enough to buy an old milk float, I'm off to google or catch my milk man as he passes :lol:

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I sort of found a price for them... not as expensive as I thought


FROM ?9,163 (not sure if that's the diesel or elec price though and whether that includes the 25% government grant discount on eco's)




I will now share my random thoughts with you all :lol:


Based on my car usage and mileage which is around 80-100 miles a week on a busy week so about ?20 in unleaded


With the little eco van it would only cost me 60p to fully recharge twice a week. saving me ?19.40


Over a year that would save me ?1008.00

plus my road tax... ?236.40

TOTAL ?1244.40


Over 5 years (the expected life of the battery) it would save me ?6222


But of course despite these savings I would have had to shell out around ?10k in the first place for it... mmmm (or however much they really cost but I'm using 10 in my analysis)


Take of the ?2k I'd probably get for my car and I'd be ?8k out of pocket.. but then would save ?6k over 5 years. So all together I would be ?2k out of pocket..... whereas with my current car I'd be ?6k out of pocket but still have a car worth ?2k so really ?4k out of pocket.


So anyway at the 5 year point how much would it cost for my new battery thingy if I needed one for this little van as so far I do appear to be saving a lot :lol::lol:

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Hi Dizzy and others

Having seen the questions and answers posted on here, we thought it might be helpful if we set out exactly what the council has bought and how everything is being funded. So....


As someone has pointed out, the electric van is a NICE Mega Van, manufactured by Aixam Mega and our van was supplied by MegaVan Manchester http://www.megavan.org/.


The van was fully funded by an Air Quality Grant from DEFRA that we received in 2010. This van cost ?13,350 including a two year warranty and maintenance contract from our supplier.


We considered a number of different electric vans. This one was selected based on the price of the vehicle and the good match to our courier service?s needs. We did consider electric vans that have a much longer mileage range, due to their superior battery specification, but unfortunately these were out of our budget.


The van can be plugged into a standard domestic three-pin socket. To monitor exactly what the van is costing us over time though, we decided to install a dedicated charging point in the garage at the Town Hall. The electrical supply is a standard one, but it has a meter attached to it so that the couriers can monitor how much electricity the van is using. The van takes around 6 hours to charge fully, and it is plugged in every night to charge up in the secure garage.


As you've worked out, because it's a fully electric vehicle, there is no road tax payable and no MOT required. Maintenance is expected to be extremely low, as there are no moving parts such as gears that can cause problems in conventional vans. In the future we will need to replace the battery, however as the costs of battery technologies are reducing fast, in a few years we expect that there will be more choice and cheaper batteries available.


To estimate how much the van will cost to run, we based our calculations on the old diesel van. In 2009/10, the diesel courier van did 9570 miles (15401 km), using 1364 litres of diesel. At today?s prices, that would cost about ?1,889 per year.


The charging point for the electric van is located in the garage at the Town Hall. The electrical supply here uses a night-time tariff, which means that electricity used at night (when the van is charging) is cheaper than electricity used during the day. On average, we expect that electricity to charge the van will cost about 7.5p per unit.


If the new van does the same mileage as the old one, the van will use an estimated 1540kWh electricity per year, which will cost about ?115 per year or ?2.20 per week. We expect to save about ?1,770 in fuel costs per year on this basis.


The body of the van is a polyester material ? very lightweight and with no corrosion. To protect the driver and provide rigidity, the chassis is aluminium. The van satisfies the Association of British Insurers? stringent technical and safety standards. The van doesn?t produce any exhaust fumes from the engine, so it is extremely good for town centres where air quality can be a problem. Last year the diesel van that the new van replaced had carbon emissions of 2.5 tonnes. If the electric van had done the same mileage, the carbon emissions would have been 0.8 tonnes. On this basis, we are expecting a carbon saving of 1.7 tonnes per year.


As for our future plans to replace more of the council's fleet with more eco-friendly vehicles, we want to monitor the usefulness and value of the new van before we consider any more. Vehicle technology is changing very quickly and we expect that there will be a great increase in the number and type of vehicles available in the future. The price is likely to reduce as well, as more vehicles are made and as technology improves. So, we?ll be keeping an eye on the situation.


Sorry that this is such a long post but hope the information answers all your questions and more! We hope to post some pics of the new eco-van (we haven't got a name for it yet - any suggestions?) soon. Thanks for the interest...

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Thanks for that WBCouncil. A most informative post :wink:


You have answered a lot of my questions although I still have no idea how much the batteries do cost at present. I realise that you say the prices are expected to come down but can you give a rough idea of what they are now?


Also you mention the the van was completely funded via a Defra Air Quality Grant you received in 2010. Was the grant specifically for the purchase of eco vehicles or was it for any purchases/changes to do with reducing the councils carbon emmissions?


How has/is the rest of the Defra grant money been utilised (if there was more that the ?13k of course).


I rather like your little Eco van and I will keep an eye out for it on my travels :lol:

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Some more answers for you:


If we were to replace the batteries now, we estimate the cost would be around ?3,000. However they are warrantied for 2 years, and we think there's every likelihood that there will be battery leasing schemes available by then, as they are being strongly supported by the Government. All indications are that this will be a much more cost effective method of using batteries than purchasing new, therefore this would be our preference.


The DEFRA grant was awarded for trialling the use of electric vehicles and charging points. We still have about ?10,000 left in the budget which is intended for the installation of a publicly accessible charging point, if we can find an appropriate location that can be installed within this budget. We can't use the remaining funds for any other items; it is specifically for electric vehicles and charging points rather than general carbon saving measures.


We're really glad you like our little eco-van. We've had mixed reactions but at least it's getting people talking about the issues and helping us to do our bit towards cutting emissions at the same time.

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Good informative post from WBC.


Couple of things I still don't understand though.


Why is it anticipated that leasing batteries, and paying a leasing companies profit, will turn out cheaper than buying them outright? Leasing cars isn't cheaper than buying, it's just more convenient to allow someone else to manage your vehicles if you have a large fleet.


Why is it anticipated that the cost of replacement batteries will come down over time when the exotic metals and other materials used in their manufacture are in limited supply - and are facing ever increasing demand to produce batteries for everything from laptops and iPods to electric vehicles?


The manufacturers specifications for the vehicle clearly state a 16amp charging requirement, how is it possible to charge it from a standard domestic 3 pin plug when the maximum current which can be drawn through one of these is 13amps? - and even this is not recommended for extended periods of time such as the 6 hours it takes to recharge this van.


And why are van loads of documents being shipped around from site to site on a daily basis anyway? Have electronic and secure online communication methods been fully investigated to remove this need altogether? On the rare occasions that original, legal documents really do need to be rapidly moved from one place to another, wouldn't using a courier company on an as-and-when basis work out cheaper than outright buying any sort of vehicle and employing a driver?

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Thanks again for the additional info WBCouncil.


It's really refreshing to be getting some input and info from the Council rather than people having to wonder and draw our/their own conclusions. I hope you will post more often :D


I wont add to Inky's questions or comments although they have got my brain wondering.


But I do have a few more comments on what you said in your second post.


The battery is very expensive and at the moment you don't know how much they may cost if anything goes wrong after the 2 year warranty. So I suggest in about 18+ months time you say it is not holding it's charge (or whatever!! ) and get a replacement before your warranty runs out :wink: They will give you one to stop you getting the council solicitor involved and the new one will then be guaranteed for a further 2 years :D


Secondly you mention that you have an additions ?10k for a publicly accessible charging point (if you can find a suitable location)


How would that work then ? Would people pop their switch cards in like they do at pay at the pump petrol stations and leave their elec cars on charge while they shop with the cost being taken drom their card once they unplug ? Could I plug my caravan in and charge it's battery up or could travellers :DSorry just being silly there


?10k does sound like an awful lot of money for one charging point though as presumably only one person could use it at a time and lets face it there are not many elec cars around anyway, let alone any that would need to be charges in the town centre.


I haven't even seen the Green Party's little elec car driving round round here for at least two years. Shelly (the lady who owned it) used to post on here expressing the virtues of elec cars and green energy but alas seems to have lost interest). Maybe she needed a new battery.


I do wonder if there are better ways to cut emmissions and that your remaining ?10k would be better spent on those rather than one charging point.


As much as I like the "Eco Warrior" I personally doubt that a few little eco electric vans in Warrington will make a huge difference considering all the other factors that contribute to emmissions locally etc.


Now having said all that I'm not against your little van at all (especially as you say it has not cost you or us anything out of council funds).


The council will be saving money over the period it uses little "Eco" which is a good thing and if after the warranty period and evaluation it turns out that it may be costly they you can just go back to a normal enviromentally friendly small van or a postmans bike.


Until you try these things you don't know eh and at least you haven't gone out and bought a whole fleet of them on a whim :wink:


How are the Ipads doing (sorry couldn't resist that one) :oops::lol:

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Bugger I just lost my post.....


I started with a :shock: as I realised that for once I found myself supporting something the council has done. :D


Then I was posting a list of names but I've forgotten some now so they obviously were no good anyway if I forgot them myself.


How about


"Eco Warrior" ... as I used it earlier without thinking and it's out there alone in Warrington trying to prove it's a winner.


"The Bug" or "bug..ger".... first in the hope that it may 'catch' on but hopefully not like E-Coli. Second incase it all goes wrong.


"Billy" ... based on the above for those that don't like it (Billy No Mates)..... once people realise why it's called that they will feel sorry for it and like it


"Buzz".... electric ?


"Spud"... no idea it just came to me and they can go green :?


"Swampy".... will get people wondering










We really need more youngsters on here eh as they would come up with some good ones... we just have to entice them out of the Footy and Wolves sections :lol:


All I'll be doing now is thinking of names for the little cutie :oops:

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