Toyota Proace Electric review
Toyota's medium-sized electric van offers over 200 miles of range, refinement and fantastic comfort – although only in one bodystyle
- Five-year warranty
- Comfortable to drive
- Up to 200 miles of range
- Only one trim level
- Just one body style
- Not the biggest interior
Toyota was the brand that took hybrid technology mainstream with the Prius, but its first fully electric vehicle to be offered on the UK market isn’t a car. Instead, it’s this Proace Electric van. It’s one of a growing number of electric vans available in the UK now, with the Volkswagen Abt eTransporter and Mercedes eVito among the Proace Electric’s rivals.
Like the diesel Proace, the Electric shares its platform and powertrain with the Citroen e-Dispatch, Vauxhall Vivaro-e and Peugeot e-Expert vans that are also produced by the Stellantis Group. But that's by no means a negative, as those are some of the best electric vans on sale right now.
The Proace Electric comes as standard with a 50kWh battery, making it capable of 142 miles on a single charge. For an extra £4,700, you can upgrade to a larger 75kWh unit for a claimed maximum range of 205 miles.
Whichever battery you choose, the van is driven by a single electric motor that produces 136bhp and 260Nm of torque. However, a choice of driving modes allows you to vary the power output. Eco mode adds around 10 miles of range by limiting the van to 82bhp, cutting the responsiveness of the throttle and stifling the air-con. Power mode offers the full 136bhp – ideal for when you’re carrying a heavy load, but it does reduce range by around 10 miles. Normal mode strikes a good balance between the two, with the kind of instant torque and quick-off-the-line acceleration you’d expect from an electric van.
Like most electric vans, the Proace Electric is smoother than its diesel counterpart and offers a more relaxing and refined driving experience. The battery being mounted under the floor means that the van handles well and remains stable when cornering. The brakes are effective and the transition between the regenerative braking system and the conventional discs and pads feels natural.
There's little to no feedback from the steering, but the Proace Electric irons out bumps and potholes better than the diesel version and also features a driving position that's somewhere between that of an SUV and what you get in rival vans.
The Proace Electric can charge at speeds up to 100kW from a DC rapid charger, which means you can recharge the 50kWh battery model to 80% capacity in 32 minutes, or the 75kWh version in 48 minutes.
If rapid charging isn't available, the Proace is equipped with a 7kW on-board charger, but there's an option for an 11kW on-board charger for faster wallbox charging (provided your home or commercial premises has three-phase electricity). Recharging from an 11kW wallbox will take four hours and 45 minutes for the 50kWh model, or seven hours if the larger 75kWh battery is fitted. Those times will be longer if you use one of the more commonly found 7.4kW wallbox chargers to top up the Proace at home.
As mentioned above, with the Proace Electric’s batteries under the cargo floor, there’s no impact on space in the rear, which offers 5.3 cubic metres of load volume. But unlike the other electric vans produced by Stellantis, the Proace is only available in one body length, body style and roof height.
The maximum payload is one tonne, which is also slightly reduced compared to the diesel Proace. Another issue is the Proace Electric’s doors are on the small side, which will restrict you from lifting in bulkier items, but the van does come with two sliding side doors as standard.
The Proace Electric also comes with plenty of safety kit, including stability control, hill-start assistance, twin front airbags, tyre-pressure monitoring and a speed limiter. However, other Stellantis vans are available with lane-keeping assistance and speed-limit recognition, which the Proace doesn’t get.
One advantage the Toyota offers compared with its sister vans is that all Toyota Professional models come with a five-year warranty and five years' roadside assistance. On top of that, the Proace Electric's battery is covered for eight years or 100,000 miles, whichever comes sooner.
The Proace Electric is only available in Icon trim, but is still generously equipped, with automatic lights and wipers, a seven-inch touchscreen, cruise control, rear parking sensors and air-conditioning all included, as well as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Prices for the Proace Electric with the 50kWh battery start at £35,545, rising to £41,195 for the larger 75kWh model after the UK Government’s £6,000 grant for electric vans has been deducted.
Overall, the Proace Electric, like its Stellantis siblings, offers you a more refined and comfortable ride than the typical diesel light commercial vehicle. The Proace is also well equipped and can be charged quickly if you have access to a fast enough charger. The only downsides are that the van is limited to one body length and style, and the interior can feel cramped if all three seats are occupied.