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Cap cautious on electric van values

Date: 02 August 2011

Residual value specialist Cap has forecast that the first fully electric van to come to market, the Azure Dynamics Transit Connect, will be worth just 20% of its original cost after three years/30,000 miles.

The conservative estimate reflects market caution over the prospects of electric vans in the secondhand market despite the benefit of extremely low running costs and exemption from the London Congestion Charge.

The Azure Transit Connect, which goes on sale this summer through a select network of Ford commercial vehicle dealerships, has a new list price of £39,999 but is expected to retain a value of only £8,000 three years down the line.

Cap said the commercial viability of used electric vans was "fraught with uncertainty". Doubts remain over the frequency expensive battery packs would need replacing and Cap claimed used buyers were likely to baulk at paying a premium for technology that is still in its infancy.

Cap Commercial Vehicle Monitor editor, Tim Cattlin acknowledged the operating advantages of electric vans for specific types of work but added: "We are looking to the future and a typical trader's willingness to risk purchasing such a vehicle for stock. It seems unlikely that the risk around battery life alone will be considered reasonable until a real track record of reliability has been established along with a clear understanding of battery longevity."

But Cattlin said for businesses wishing to promote a green image, the value of electric vans was not entirely tied to the balance sheet.

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