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23 - 25 APRIL 2024 • NEC • BIRMINGHAM • UK
29 February 2024
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Electric van fleets report battery drain problems

Fleet professionals report significant 12v battery drain in electric vans, leading to breakdowns and costs, despite manufacturer feedback.


Some fleets which use electric vans are warning that the 12-volt battery may unexpectedly go flat, leaving them unable to start the vehicle and having to pay hundreds of pounds for a breakdown call-out and, potentially, a replacement battery.

The Association of Fleet Professionals (AFP) says fleets are reporting they have experienced battery drain across a number of key electric vans. In some cases, the battery died even when tethered to a charge point.

Paul Hollick, AFP chair, said:

This is definitely a significant issue on e-LCVs, especially those that when charging, the (12v) battery is not being topped up. It is not an isolated case and seems to be an issue for all e-LCV fleet deployments.

Lorna McAtear, head of fleet at National Grid, explained that, when driving, the 12v battery charges, so it should not be a problem. However, for fleets which frequently stop or if a driver goes on holiday for two weeks and the vehicle is parked up, she says it is.

McAtear noted the issue was not unique to electric vehicles (EVs), with fleets deploying additional batteries on diesel vans in the past, but she said:

We’re seeing it more on EVs” and “it’s happening much quicker than we all expected.

She added:

Fleets are early adopters and everybody is still learning, but it’s frustrating that some manufacturers aren’t listening to our feedback and instead they blame the kit we put on commercial vehicles such as telematics or LED lighting. But National Grid doesn’t have telematics in our vehicles, and we’ve still got the problem.


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