The Best Electric Vans — CleanTech Talk with Tomek Gać

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In this episode of our CleanTech Talk podcast interview series, Zach Shahan sits down with Tomek Gać, Co-Founder of Tesla Shuttle and founder and CEO of and Energia Słonca, to discuss the successes, challenges, and future of electric delivery vehicles. You can listen to the full conversation in the embedded player below. Below that embedded SoundCloud player is a brief summary of the topics covered, but tune into the podcast to follow the full discussion.

Tomek has owned an electric vehicle for six years, which started when he watched a YouTube video about Tesla and thought: it really is possible to produce a compelling electric vehicle. At the time in Europe, specifically in Poland where Tomek lives, getting a Tesla was not an option. Tomek test drove a Nissan LEAF, though, and that completely sealed the deal for him, so he invested in a Nissan LEAF.

Tomek, early on in the development of his company, felt frustrated with the inability to find an electric van to use for his courier business. Why was Tomek so interested in electric delivery vehicles? He explains that, from a company perspective, electric vehicles are cheaper to run, more comfortable for drivers, and important as an indicator that the company takes its environmental responsibilities seriously. But the benefits extend beyond the company. For cities, electric delivery vans are beneficial because they produce no emissions and are much quieter. In crowded city centers, for example, this can make a big difference. 

Tomek and Zach explore Tomek’s experience testing the range of electric vans on the market. Currently, Tomek is testing the StreetScooter Work Box. For Tomek, the German-made StreetScooter has fallen short of expectations due to the poor interior quality, but it is much higher quality than some of the current Chinese-made electric delivery vans on the market that tend to have poor range and poor quality. Tomek’s favorite small electric delivery vehicle on the market is the Nissan e-NV200, especially the extended version, the Nissan-Voltia e-NV200. (For a detailed look at how the e-NV200 does on the road, read parts one, two, three, four, and five of his road trip from Poland to Sicily and back in the electric van.)

Zach and Tomek also take the time to discuss the current electrodelivery market and how it might change and develop in the next three to five years. While both agree that the ideal is a price drop and range increase, Tomek notes that he is more hopeful for price decreases, as there is still a lot of work to be done in terms of vehicle range. For Tomek, the potential for electric vehicles to transform the delivery industry is under-appreciated.

While Tesla has always been exciting for Tomek, the high price of the car and car repairs make it too expensive to use for his courier company.

Zach and Tomek spend the last part of the podcast on brief commentaries regarding battery storage, Tesla, and electric vehicle range. To hear more on these topics, listen to the show!

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