A full payload can slash the range of an electric van by almost 50%.

According to leasing giant Arval, over a 33.5-mile course an EV with a full payload used up 85% of its range compared with a 45% usage for one that had no load on board.

“The loss of range is significant at almost 50% and shows that, if you were expecting a fully laden EV commercial vehicle to reach anywhere near the stated range, then you would be disappointed,” said Eddie Parker, commercial vehicle consultant at Arval.

The test route was designed to represent a typical van route with the vehicle travelling between 30-70mph, and the van being driven by the same driver at the same time of day with aircon and non-essential items switched off.

Arval said it undertook the test to add to its pool of knowledge about electric vehicles, and in response to requests from customers who were looking to understand how far EVs can travel in real-world circumstances.

Despite the findings, Arval found that diesel vans also lost range when fully laden.

“The fact is that, in general use, few vans of this type would ever be fully laden. A typical load for most uses would be much nearer the 50% mark, where the loss of range is much less pronounced. For this reason, we believe the study shows that there is a wider application for EVs than may at first have been thought,” Parker added. “Of course, all vehicles lose range when fully laden. A diesel van with a full payload would typically see its range reduced by around 35%, for example.”