Narrative around electric vans is crucial to used market success, VRA members told

Promoting a well-informed narrative around electric vans is going to be crucial to their success in the used market, the Vehicle Remarketing Association (VRA) as told at a meeting of members.

Held at G3 Vehicle Auctions, Glasshoughton, the event featured a range of experts speaking on this emerging subject, discussing how the remarketing sector needs to prepare ahead of the arrival of used electric vans in large numbers.

Paul Kirby, director at EV Essentials, said: “It’s going to be important to build a narrative around electric vans for used buyers that promotes their advantages and creates understanding around any perceived limitations.

“That means emphasising potential total cost of ownership benefits, underlining accessibility to Clean Air Zones and recognising that their priorities for electric vans will be different from the original buyers. They will be much less concern around environmental advantages and more interest in payload and speed of charging.

“Retailers selling these vans will need to be able to explain – not just in person but as part of the vehicle description at every point – subjects such as the impact of payload on range and different charging ratings. These will be new issues for almost all buyers and they will need to be steered through the available choices.”

Steve Botfield, senior editor for commercial vehicles at cap hpi, added: “There’s a big education piece for the remarketing sector when it comes to electric vans and their potential buyers. These are people that have been buying diesel vans probably their entire working lives but know little or nothing about the new technology.

“Franchise dealers have a big part to play here but the light commercial vehicle market also has a very strong independent dealer presence and they are just as important. They need to make sure that their people in the showroom understand what they are selling and can communicate the benefits ready for when these vehicles start arriving in the used sector in sizeable numbers, which will start to happen around 2025-26.”

Finally, Roger Knight, head of van sales, eStar Truck and Van, brought a dealer perspective to the meeting: “Our key learning is that retailing used EVs is not like retailing used diesel vans. You are not selling a vehicle, you’re selling a whole proposition where you need to bring everyone onside – that means not just the person buying the electric vans but the driver and even your own sales team.

“A dissatisfied driver who doesn’t recognise the advantage of their EV can mean that electrification on any fleet can slow down or stop, even if there is massive corporate will. They need to be won over. Similarly, all our sales staff now drive EVs or hybrids so that they know about the technology and can enthusiastically promote it.”

Philip Nothard, chair, VRA, said: “We’re in a situation where electric vans are starting to appear on fleets in sizeable numbers for the first time, very much signalling the beginning of the electrification of this sector as we head towards 2030.

“This is a trend that is obviously going to develop at speed over the next few years and, with this meeting, we’ve been able to provide a comprehensive picture from a fleet, market and dealer point of view on how the remarketing sector needs to prepare. It was a very interesting session.”

VRA members also had the opportunity to tour G3’s new, £12 million, purpose-built 14-acre auction centre, featuring twin halls and the latest remarketing facilities.

Further details about attending VRA member meetings can be obtained by emailing

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