Vans weigh in on the EQUA Index
Light commercial vehicles (LCVs) travelled 48.5 billion miles last year according to the Department for Transport. In its tests, Emissions Analytics has seen similar levels of variability from official fuel economy and emissions figures in vans as in cars. With van mileage growing by an average of 4.1% each year this is bad news for air quality and for van driver’s wallets. Launched today, drivers can now use the EQUA Index to check the on-road performance of light commercial vehicles.
The table below shows a sample of the vans tested. All give fewer miles per gallon than advertised. The average is 17.1% below but the range is from -5.3% to -38.8%. However, the mpg gap is smaller than for passenger cars which was 29% in 2016, perhaps because light commercial vehicles are not being hyper-optimised to the NEDC.
Similarly, all of these vehicles were homologated to either the Euro 5 or Euro 6 standard and yet there are seven Euro 5s and three Euro 6 vehicles which have been rated ‘H’ on the EQUA Aq Index, meaning they emit 12 times or more the current Euro 6 limit when they are out of laboratory conditions.
The best performing diesel van is the Euro 6 VW Transporter, scoring an B-rating on-the-road, meaning it is just 1.5 times the legal limit. This is mirrored in the passenger cars tested, where only 15 of the 131 Euro 6 diesel cars tested meet the standard, of which 10 are from the Volkswagen group.
|Make||Model||Regulatory stage||Variance to official MPG||EQUA Aq rating|
|FORD||Transit Connect||Euro 5||-16.7%||E|
|FORD||Transit Custom||Euro 5||-22.7%||H|
|FORD||Transit Custom||Euro 6||-16.1%||C|
The effect of load
Tested on the same EQUA cycle as passenger cars, vans additionally run parts of the route ballasted to fifty per cent of their maximum payload. The effect of load on fuel economy is an average of -11.2% for a fully loaded van. A quick calculation based on average diesel price (122.12p/l) shows that for every 100 miles driven with a fully loaded van, refuelling costs on average £1.91 more than empty. Multiply this by the average yearly mileage travelled per van  and this is approximately £450 per year.
With around 30 to 50 vans added yearly, the EQUA Index is available for everyone to use free of charge and enables drivers and fleets to pick the most economical as well as the least polluting vehicles. Find out more by looking at the EQUA Index online.