The electric variant of the Berlingo is one of the best small electric vans currently available, reckons John Kendall
It’s like the calm before the storm at the moment. If you are currently in the market for a small battery electric van, choice is a bit limited. The VW Caddy has not yet arrived in electric form, there is no Ford Transit Connect electric yet, we are expecting a small Chinese DFSK electric van before long and electric variants of the Renault Kangoo, Mercedes-Benz Citan and Nissan Townstar are all expected later this year.
This leaves the Stellantis brands, with the Citroën ë-Berlingo, Peugeot e-Partner and Vauxhall Combo-e as well as the Toyota Proace City Electric, all based on the same platform as the models that are currently on the market, assuming components are available. The format is quite similar to that used for the larger Stellantis electric van models, but with a single choice of battery pack. 50kWh provides a theoretical range of up to 171 miles, while the model could be rapid-charged in around 30 mins from a 100kW DC charge point. It would take around seven hours to charge from a 7kW AC wallbox.
Like the larger Stellantis vans, it is powered by a 134hp electric motor driving the front wheels and there is a choice of Normal, Eco and Power drive modes, with Normal as the default setting. With 'Eco' selected, range is extended, mostly by limiting the power output. The regenerative braking available to help extend the range further is adjustable, using a push button grouped next to the gear selector. As with the larger Stellantis vans, this feature does not work when the battery is fully charged and you need to drive a few miles to reduce battery charge before it is available.
The ë-Berlingo is very simple to drive, thanks to the high torque output from rest that all electric motors provide and the logical layout of the controls, which are so straightforward to use. The major drive system controls are grouped around the gear selector, while the lights and wipers controls are just where you would expect to find them. With the batteries under the floor, it keeps the centre of gravity of the basic vehicle low and uniformly spread. We ran part laden for some of the test and weight seems to make little difference to performance, although inevitably it does affect available range.
Our Enterprise Pro ë-Berlingo comes well equipped with items such as electrically heated and folding door mirrors, rear parking sensors and automatic headlights. It also features Citroën’s Extenso modular folding passenger bench seat, which will fold flat to extend the load area with the help of the bulkhead through-loading flap. Additional storage space is also provided underneath the seat. An eight-inch touchscreen is also fitted as standard with Citroën Connect DAB radio, Bluetooth and USB sockets. Cruise control and a variable speed limit are also part of the equipment.