Introductions to electric vans

Many people don't realise that 100% electric vans have been available in the UK for many years, mainly due to them looking no different to their diesel counterparts. It started around 2009-10 with Allied Electric and Smiths, both UK companies, converting diesel vans to a fully electric drivetrain. Also in 2009 the Citroen Berlingo Electric was available in the UK, but in sold in very small numbers. Since early 2012, the most popular electric van (and the worlds largest seller), has been the Renault Kangoo ZE. Then later in 2014, the slightly larger Nissan e-NV200, based on the Leaf, became available in the UK.

Allied Electric & Smiths

Both companies took regular diesel LCVs (or HGVs in Smith's case) and converted them to a fully electric drivetrain. Allied Electric converted Peugeot Partner, Bipper, Expert and Boxer vans, while Smiths often electrified Ford Transit vans but mainly offered larger HGVs, Both companies no longer make or support electric vans. Smiths vans are pretty rare now, with most probably scrapped due to lack of parts. Allied produced more vehicles and these occasionally appear on the used market now. Allied no longer make or support these electric vehicles, so lack of spares and expertise is a problem, so I wouldn't recommend buying them. Neither the Ford or Peugeot dealerships will work on these conversion vehicles and electric powertrain spares are virtually impossible to source, so you could find these vehicles end up prematurely being scrapped when they require repairs.

Allied brochure & vehicle specs

Citroen

The Berlingo electrique van was sold in the UK between 1998 and 2005, but sales were extremely low in the UK. More were sold in France as the French post office used them. The next electric model Berlingo was available in the UK from 2013 and although it had a 22.5 kWh lithium-ion battery, Chademo rapid charging and a 106 NEDC range, sales have been even smaller at only around 20 per year in the UK. Consequently they are almost unseen in the used market are dwarfed by the Renault Kangoo ZE availability.

The 2013+ Berlingo is exactly the same vehicle as the Peugeot Partner electric van.

2014 Citroen Berlingo Electric

Peugeot

To date, the only electric van from Peugeot is the Partner. This is the same van as the Citroen Berlingo. Like the Berlingo, the Partner has sold in very small numbers in the UK and subsequently rarely appear for sale. While the 2016 model has sold slightly sold better, still only 125 were sold in the UK, so few come up for sale second hand.

These are excellent vans though as all have DC rapid charging, air conditioning and they are the only electric van with 3 seats in the front. Up to 2018, all electric vans are short wheel base (L1 model). From 2018 the L2 model is available in electric.. This has a longer body, but the wheelbase remains the same as the extra cargo area is behind the rear axle.

2018 Peugeot Partner Electric L2

Renault

The Renault Kangoo ZE is the world's top selling electric van and has been available in the UK since 2012. It uses the same Kangoo II bodyshell as the diesel variant, so available in either a short-wheelbase or long-wheel base, called the Maxi,. The Maxi is also available as a crewcab version with 5 seats.

The electric motor has a peak power of 44kW (59hp), maximum torque is 226 Nm (167 lbf·ft) and its top speed is capped electronically to 81mph (130 km/h). It has a 22kWh battery pack and like all Renaults, this is leased. It is only from 2017 models, where there was an option to purchase the battery when new. Like the Zoe, battery owned models are denoted by "i" - i.e. "Kangoo i ZE".

In late 2013, the Kangoo van got a facelift, with a new front end (bumper, grill and lights). Inside the changes were minimal with new stereos, resigned air vents and the R-Link sat nav was available. There were no changes to the electric powertrain other than the charging socket at the front is now a Mennekes type 2, whereas all previous models had the J1772 type 1 connector. The maximum 3kW charger remains.

The first significant changes come in late 2017 with the launch of the new 33kWh battery pack, which increases the NEDC range to 170 miles , which was previously 110 miles with the 22kWh battery. This new model also gains a heatpump heating system and a 7kW charger, knocking 2 hour off the charging time.


For more information, see Renault Kangoo ZE guide.

Nissan

The e-NV200 was released in Europe in June 2014 and is in terms of size it sits somewhere between the Kangoo SWB and Kangoo Maxi.

More to follow shortly.