Work has begun on an industry standard for manufacturers to follow in establishing the range of their electric vehicles.
At present there is no standard, which means dealers could unwittingly confuse customers and give them false expectations.
The claimed range could shorten significantly once a vehicle is loaded and has its heater, wipers and lights operating.
Last week, representatives from the majority of commercial vehicle makers launching electric vans met to begin setting the criteria.
At the meeting was Robin Dickeson, SMMT manager of commercial vehicle affairs, who said that while business users may prefer for manufacturers to establish an electric van’s range “when it is fully laden on a cold wet night when the lights and heaters are turned on”, such a scenario is not going to happen.
And before manufacturers even start setting the criteria, they have to agree which vehicles will be tested.
“There was a lot of discussion about defining what a true low-carbon or zero-carbon vehicle is,” he said. “And do we calculate well-to-wheel or just tailpipe emissions?”
There are other issues such as how series hybrids are defined – whether they are range-extended electric vehicles or should be classed as vans powered by internal combustion engines.
These discussions are likely to take months to resolve.