New Citroen Berlingo electric van set for 2021 launch

Citroen e-Berlingo van on the way, alongside closely related Peugeot e-Partner and Vauxhall Combo-e

Citroen e-Berlingo

Citroen has released full details of its new electric Berlingo van, to be launched in the second half of 2021. Named e-Berlingo, the van forms part of the wider PSA Group's aim to have a fully electrified line-up by 2025, with a completely electrified light commercial vehicle (LCV) line-up by the end of 2021.

The e-Berlingo is the smallest of the latest generation of electric Citroen vans, following on from the larger e-Dispatch and e-Relay. It completes the trio, just as the Vauxhall Combo-e and Peugeot e-Partner will complete the electric-van ranges of Vauxhall and Peugeot respectively.

From the outside, the e-Berlingo differs little from the regular diesel-engined Berlingo, with its charging port found under the fuel flap and subtle 'e' badging the only clues to its zero-emissions status. Inside, it's differentiated only by the presence of a drive mode selector where you'd normally find the gearstick.

The new e-Berlingo represents a big step forward over the old model, whose real-world 60 or 70-mile range and dated interior were beginning to feel off the pace of the competition by the time it went off sale in late 2019. When it arrives, rivals for the e-Berlingo will include its stablemates from within the PSA Group, along with the forthcoming Renault Kangoo Z.E and the LEVC VN5, among others.

Citroen e-Berlingo

Citroen e-Berlingo range, charging and performance

The Citroen e-Berlingo sits on the PSA Group's 'eCMP' mechanical platform, which also underpins the Citroen e-C4 family hatchback. The same 50kWh battery and 134bhp electric motor seen in that car are used here. In the van, that's sufficient for a top speed of 81mph and a range of up to 171 miles in ideal conditions.

Three driving modes are available, with Normal restricting power output to 107bhp for a balance of range and power, Eco pegging it back to 80bhp and limiting use of the heating and air-conditioning to maximise range and Power freeing up the maximum 134bhp for best performance at speed or when heavily loaded.

Range can be further preserved by activating the van's 'B' mode, which boosts the power of the regenerative braking effect that captures otherwise-wasted energy as you slow down and feeds it back into the battery. The battery itself is guaranteed by Citroen to retain at least 70% of its as-new capacity up to eight years or just under 100,000 miles (160,000 kilometres) of use.

Charging can be done using a standard domestic socket (which will take 15 hours to fully top up the battery), a home or workplace wallbox (which will take between five and seven-and-a-half hours), or a public rapid charger (which can deliver an 80% charge in 30 minutes at 100kW). Charging, as well as heating or cooling of the cabin, can be scheduled in order to take advantage of off-peak electricity tariffs and make sure the van is comfortable at the start of the working day or shift.

Driver-assistance and safety technologies available for the e-Berlingo include hill-start assist, parking sensors, a reversing camera, automatic high-beam headlights, an electric parking brake and an overload indicator, as well as automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warning, driver attention alert, collision risk alert, towing stability control, grip control, hill-descent control, traffic-sign recognition and blind-spot monitoring.

Citroen e-Berlingo

Interior and practicality

Inside, the e-Berlingo has a five-inch touchscreen display as standard. An 'Energy' menu here gives access to electric features, including an energy-flow and charge-level display, efficiency statistics and the charge-scheduling function. A 10-inch digital screen and head-up display can be added as cost options.

The e-Berlingo is offered in two or three-seat configuration and in two sizes: M (4.4 metres long) and XL (4.75 metres long). The van is 1.84 metres high and has a load length of 3.09 metres in M form and 3.44 metres as an XL. With an effective width between the wheel arches of 1.23 metres, the e-Berlingo can carry two Euro pallets, one behind the other.

Its load volume is the same as for the equivalent diesel version (from 3.3 to 4.4 cubic metres depending on the exact configuration), while the maximum payload is 800kg and maximum towing weight is 750kg. The internal partition has a hatch for transporting long loads, facilitated by the folding passenger seat. The seat can also be pivoted upwards to release more load space and when folded down the back of the central seat can be used as a mobile office with a writing surface.

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