New electric vans 2021 and beyond
The electric van market has taken off in recent times, with numerous new models launched by manufacturers. Here's a rundown of what's appeared – and what's on the way
While the focus has been squarely on electric passenger cars in recent years, manufacturers are now coming around to the idea of electric and hybrid vans – especially as regulations shift to encourage businesses to use zero-emissions vehicles for last-mile deliveries in cities.
Already available are the likes of the LDV EV80, Nissan e-NV200 and Renault Master Z.E., while Ford has launched a plug-in hybrid Transit and Mitsubishi offers a commercial version of its Outlander PHEV plug-in hybrid SUV.
With ever more cities planning to introduce low-emissions zones in the coming years, vans like these are set to become more and more important to businesses that want to keep working in urban areas.
If you're a business owner, or run a van for daily errands, you could save a fortune by switching to electric. And as technology develops, electric vans' range and payloads are improving, too.
Here's a rundown of some of the most important models, either on-sale or on their way very soon...
The PSA Group – parent company of Citroen, Peugeot and Vauxhall – launched electric versions of all its mid-size vans in 2020. Citroen's is called the e-Dispatch and comes with a choice of two batteries: 50kWh for a 143-mile range, or 75kWh for a 205-mile range.
As with the diesel-engined Dispatch, there's a variety of body lengths to offer flexibility in terms of payload and carrying capacity. Citroen says the electric Dispatch will offer improved comfort compared to the diesel, with “limited noise or vibration” thanks to the electric powertrain. Read more about the Citroen e-Dispatch here.
The larger Citroen Relay and its PSA siblings are also getting electric conversions. The e-Relay will be built at a factory in Val di Sangro in Italy, with the electric conversion carried out by Citroen's partner BD Auto.
It'll be offered in 'L1' and 'L3' bodystyles, with the latter featuring a longer wheelbase and greater cargo-carrying capacity. Citroen says the L1 version will travel 141 miles on a charge, and the L3 will manage 169 miles. However, these figures were calculated under the now-discontinued NEDC testing process, so it remains to be seen how they'll get on in real-world conditions. Read more about the Citroen e-Relay here.
A sister model to the Citroen e-Relay above and Peugeot Peugeot e-Boxer below, the E-Ducato was announced in July 2019, before the merger between Citroen and Peugeot's parent PSA and Fiat's parent FCA came about.
Fiat says the E-Ducato will be offered in the same range of body variants as the diesel equivalent, with load volumes from 10 to 17 cubic metres and a maximum payload of 1,950kg. Its motor will produce just over 120bhp, while a range of battery sizes will offer ranges from 136 to 223 miles (albeit calculated using the old NEDC test method). Read more about the Fiat E-Ducato here.
Sales of the pure-electric Ford E-Transit are set to start in early 2022, entering a market that will be full of similarly large and capable electric vans. Power comes from a 265bhp electric motor and 67kWh battery, with a claimed range of 217 miles.
Ford will offer the E-Transit in panel-van, double-cab-in-van and chassis-cab versions as part of a line-up of 25 possible configurations that includes different wheel-base lengths and body heights. The new van will also be packed with up-to-date driver-assistance, safety and fleet-management systems. Read more about the Ford E-Transit here.
LEVC VN5 plug-in hybrid van
The Coventry-based, Chinese-owned London Electric Vehicle Company – which also builds the electric London Taxi – has introduced a plug-in hybrid electric van called the VN5, with the name referencing its five-cubic-metre load capacity.
It uses a 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol engine from sister company Volvo, as well as an additional electric motor to power the rear wheels. The same system can be found in the LEVC taxi, and the same pure-electric range of 80 miles is promised here.
Initially, the van is available in just one body style: a regular medium-sized panel van with 'barn doors' at the rear and a sliding door on the side. However, LEVC hasn’t ruled out different variants in future. Read more about the LEVC VN5 here.
Maxus E Deliver 3
The E Deliver 3 was first unveiled at CV Show in 2019 as the LDV EV30, but following LDV’s rebrand to Maxus early in 2020, the van has been renamed. A smaller counterpart to the company’s EV80, the zero-emission small van comes in two body lengths (short and long wheelbase) offering drivers flexibility in terms of payload and carrying capacity.
The van also come with a choice of two battery sizes: 52.5kWh (which offers up to 149 miles from a charge in the short-wheelbase model, or 142 in the long-wheelbase) and 35kWh, which gives short and long-wheelbase ranges of 98 and 93 miles respectively. The van is available to order now, with prices starting at £24,000 before VAT, but after the government plug-in van grant has been deducted. Read more about the Maxus E Deliver 3 here.
The eSprinter is basically a larger version of the eVito below. It uses a 113bhp motor and 55kWh battery for a claimed range of up to 96 miles, with the option of either 20kW or 80kW DC charging; the latter can charge from 10 to 80% in half an hour. There's only one trim level available to keep things simple, but standard kit includes a heated driver's seat, DAB radio and a range of useful active safety systems.
Maximum gross weight is 3,500kg and maximum load volume is 11 cubic metres; top speed is limited to 75mph as standard but this can be reduced to 50mph as an option. Read more about the Mercedes eSprinter here.
Nissan e-NV200 XL Voltia
The Nissan e-NV200 was one of the first commercially available small electric vans, and now its manufacturer has teamed up with conversion company the Bevan Group to offer an enlarged 'XL' version for operators who need more cargo volume.
The extension can be applied to any e-NV200, used or new, and owners can approach the Bevan Group themselves or liaise through their Nissan dealer. Prices for a brand-new XL-converted e-NV200 start at £29,955 plus VAT. Read more about the Nissan e-NV200 XL Voltia here.
Sister model to the Citroen e-Relay and Fiat Ducato Electric above, the e-Boxer is another large electric van on the way soon. As with those vans, an exact UK price for the Boxer Electric will be confirmed closer to its on-sale date.
No technical details have been revealed at this stage, but as the e-Boxer shares its platform with the Relay Electric, a similar range figure of around 170 miles on the now-defunct NEDC efficiency tests can expected, translating a real-world figure in the region of 120-130 miles. Read more about the Peugeot e-Boxer here.
The e-Expert is Peugeot's equivalent to the Citroen e-Dispatch further up this list and the Vauxhall Vivaro-e further down. Available to order now, it comes with a choice of two battery sizes, so buyers can prioritise range or carrying capacity as needed.
Its 50 or 75kWh battery packs give a range of 143 or 205 miles respectively. With either pack, the e-Expert and its sister models have the same amount of load space as their diesel-engined sister models. Read more about the Peugeot e-Expert here.
Renault Kangoo Z.E.
With the current electric Kangoo starting to lag behind the competition, Renault has announced its replacement. The new Renault Kangoo Z.E. has been shown in official images, but details are fairly slim for now; it's expected to use an improved drivetrain shared with the latest Nissan Leaf, thanks to the partnership between the two firms.
Two body lengths will be offered, along with improvements to infotainment, driver-assistance technology and build quality. There's no official launch date yet, but some point in 2021 is most likely. Read more about the new Renault Kangoo Z.E. here.
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