The Stellantis Group takes its electric offensive also in the field of light commercial vehicles. Even this category, in fact, is one of those that from 2035 will have to say goodbye to thermal engines, so starting to preside over the market and getting customers used to it is an almost obligatory choice.
In this market sector, however, the transition to electric could be more easily metabolized by customers, because these are vehicles that, for the most part, have a type of use that is well suited to the characteristics of “zero emissions” mobility. “.
In most cases these vehicles are part of fleets, more or less large, belonging to companies that certainly do not have to face the same technical problems that a private individual encounters to install a wallbox in their box. On average, they travel 72 km a day, that is, more or less 21,000 km a year: half on state roads, one third in the city and the rest on the motorway. They contribute to 7% of urban traffic and are almost always the protagonists of the final delivery in a sector like that of e-commerce which has grown by more than 30% between 2019 and 2020 alone.
With this identikit, the transition from the thermal engine to the electric can only be fluid.
The three vehicles proposed by Citroën, Opel and Peugeot have the same structure and the same mechanics. Their appearance differentiates them, especially in the noses, which reflect the stylistic features of the related brands, while inside it is the Peugeot variant that distances itself from the other two, because it re-proposes the concept of i-Cockpit: small and low steering wheel, high instrumentation to be consulted above the crown. All the instruments are digital, Citroën and Opel can also have a color head-up display and up to 18 driving aid systems are available, including the Surrond Rear Vision system, which replaces the interior rear-view mirror with a monitor and offers a more complete view of what’s going on behind it. Among the peculiarities of these vehicles there are also the 220 volt sockets and the warning light that warns of exceeding the load limit.
The electric motor develops 100 kWh (136 HP), 260 Nm allows you to reach 135 km / h and go from 0 to 100 km / h in 11.2 seconds. It is the same as all the “zero emissions” models of the former PSA Group and is powered by a 50 kW battery that allows ranges of up to 275 km. Depending on the load, the type of road and how much you want to preserve the range, you can choose between three settings: Eco (60 kW and 190 Nm available), Normal (80 kW and 210 Nm) and Power to use all the power and the torque offered by the engine.
And also the Brake function which increases the recovery of energy in deceleration and, when driving in the city, very often allows you to stop without even touching the brake pedal.
Charging times are 5 hours with an 11 kW wallbox, 7.4 hours with a 7.4 kW device and go up to 15 hours if you use a 16 Ampere domestic socket. But with a 100 kW column, 80% autonomy is recovered in half an hour.
As in the case of the versions with internal combustion engine, two lengths and two configurations (van up to 3 seats) and double cab (up to 5 seats) are available. The payload reaches 800 kg and the useful volume reaches 4.4 cubic meters, while the towing capacity is 750 kg. The possibility of processing for specific uses is also unchanged.
On the road you have a very noticeable torque as soon as you touch the accelerator and a lively progression in the Normal and Power modes and just a little more temperate in the Eco one. The weight of the batteries is concentrated at the bottom, so you feel little. The availability of the engine makes driving restful and its physiological silence also increases the level of acoustic comfort. Even when in a hurry the suspension and steering respond well and, as is the case with road cars, the Peugeot i-Cockpit offers greater driving involvement – something even an Amazon courier can be sensitive to.
Citroën ë-Berlingo Van, Opel Combo-e Cargo, Peugeot e-Partner
What are they: These are the battery versions of the light commercial vehicles (category N1) of Citroën, Opel and Peugeot. They have mechanics and structure in common and differ only in some aesthetic traits.
Dimensions: length 4,403 / 4,753 meters, width 1,921 meters, height 1,825 meters, wheelbase 2,785 / 2,973 meters, load volume 3.3 / 4.4 cubic meters
Rivals: Nissan Townstar e-NV, Renault Kangoo ZE
Motor: Permanent magnet synchronous electric 100 kW (136 HP) and 260 Nm
Benefits: Performance, comfort, safety features, load capacity unchanged compared to the versions with heat engine.
Defects: High prices compared to the thermal versions, rear visibility without the Surrond Rear Vision (optional).
Production: Vigo (Spain).
Prices, VAT excluded: From 26,535 for the Peugeot e-Partner and Citroën ë-Berlingo Van and from 26,835 euros for the Opel Combo-e Cargo.