Innovations in Electric Van Technology: What’s Next?

Electric van fleet technology is developing at a rapid pace, as we know at Maxus. Extensive research is being done to improve electric van (EV) batteries and make charging more efficient. Batteries dictate an electric van fleet’s range before recharging is required, and increased efficiency is vital to reduce business energy costs.  

Maxus is also investing in the future by, amongst other initiatives, expanding our Training Academy. It provides cutting-edge Electric Van training for technicians within our group and our extensive dealership network. We intend to stay ahead of new technology trends and advancements to better serve our customers’ fleets. In this article, we discuss some of the latest innovations in electric van technology.

Fast-Charging Infrastructure 

Fast-charging infrastructure for rapid or ultra-rapid recharging of Electric Cars and Vas is increasingly available throughout the UK. Zapmap EV charging statistics, as at the end of January 2024, states there were 55,301 electric vehicle charging points across the UK, of which 10,541 were rapid or ultra-rapid charging devices. 

The total number of charging devices around the UK increased by 46% since January 2023 and is expected to continue its rapid expansion rate as more businesses and convert to electric vans. Fleet owners are very conscious of the costs related to recharging time, and fast charging infrastructure is essential, whether vans travel within the city or long distance.  

Solid-State Batteries 

Today’s electric vehicles use lithium-ion batteries. They are heavy and use critical minerals such as cobalt, copper, nickel and lithium, which impacts their sustainability credentials. EV battery research is ongoing in the UK, including the use of solid-state batteries. Lithium-ion batteries have electrolytes in a liquid form, while the electrolytes in solid-state batteries are solid. 

What benefits would solid-state batteries offer? They are smaller and lighter, allowing vehicles to travel longer distances before recharging. Safety is always the first consideration for electric van fleets, and the battery’s solid nature makes it safer. These batteries can tolerate higher temperatures and have higher thermal stability.   

 Vehicle-To-Grid (V2G) Technology 

In a previous article, we discussed how bidirectional Electric Van charging or vehicle-to-everything (V2X) technology is one of the trends shaping EV charging infrastructure’s future. It allows you to use the energy stored in EV batteries for a home (V2H) or business (V2B) and even sell it back to the grid (V2G). 
Vehicle-To-Grid (V2G) technology is a leading example of V2X, according to the UK Government’s Electric Vehicle Smart Charging Plan published in January 2023. The challenge lies in commercialising vehicle-to-grid technology, as very few electric vehicles or EV chargers are currently designed to export electricity back into the system

Autonomous Driving Features

The Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) International, in collaboration with the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), refined the SAE Levels of Driving Automation™ as they relate to electric vans  and how they operate on roadways. 

Modern vehicles such as the Maxus eDeliver 9 already have autonomous driving features, including an automatic emergency braking system, lane change assist, and lane departure warning (Level 2). Future electric vans will take over from the driver during rush hour (SAE Level 3), for example, and ultimately move around without a driver in the vehicle (SAE Level 5). 
On 7 November 2023, the government introduced the Automated Vehicles Bill. The Bill intends to regulate vehicle automation and the use of automated vehicles on roads.

 Lightweight Composite Materials

At Maxus, we use a large number of lightweight composite materials, such as polymer and aluminium, in our Maxus eDeliver 3, eDeliver 7, and eDeliver 9 electric vans. Combine these materials with our aerodynamic designs, and clients receive an electric van that is light, yet strong enough to carry its payload safely. Driver comfort, reliability and safety are our priority for all Maxus vehicles.   

Maxus uses cutting-edge manufacturing processes to ensure our vehicles deliver for our customers now and into the future. Our vans also include the Intelligence Onboard system, sharing live data to manage fleet performance. Contact Maxus today to discuss how our electric fleet technology can help your company.

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