Nearly a third of van drivers are unlikely to consider switching to an electric van, according to new research.

A study by Vansdirect found that 31% were ‘not likely’ to make the switch, compared with 18% who said it was ‘highly likely’.

Commenting on the findings, Gregor Mackie, operations director of Vansdirect parent company Vertu Ventures, said: “Most of the major manufacturers are producing electric vans but it seems there is a long way to go to convince drivers to switch.

“Our attitudes survey shows some reluctance for van owners to embrace the electric revolution, but I am sure that will change as the technology advances. Demand is also likely to be driven by the introduction of more clean air zones, such as those in Bath, Birmingham and soon to be Portsmouth. 

“Vehicles which do not meet emissions standards could well be subject to charges to drive in these areas.”

The research also covered other elements of buying a van, and findings included how only 18% of respondents thought it was essential to test drive a new van, 80% saw price as the main factor when choosing a van supplier, and just under half were interested in all-inclusive servicing and maintenance packages.

Mackie said: “I was surprised to find that so few buyers thought it important to test drive a new vehicle but less so that price is a major consideration when making a purchasing decision.

“Van sales have risen over the last 18 months, in part down to the rise in the number of delivery drivers recruited by courier and postal companies.

“Conducting this research has enabled us to more fully understand our customers and will help us to deliver the products and service they want.”