Could this be one of the best electric vans on the market asks John Kendall?
SECTOR Medium van PRICE £26,965 - £36,070 RANGE 177-211 miles (75kWh battery) LOAD VOLUME 5.3m3 DRIVE 136hp (100kW) Battery electric CHARGING 75kWh battery: 11 hours 20 mins (7.4kW AC) 45mins (0-80%, 100kW DC)
In only nine years, the government reckons that every single new car and van on UK roads will be powered by electricity – which makes it difficult to understand why they recently cut the grant available for cars, vans and charge points. So if you were thinking of trialling an electric van, there is less help available from the government.
Luckily the Peugeot e-Expert is one of those on the Government's list of large vans that are eligible for the reduced grant, along with its siblings the Citroën e-Dispatch and Vauxhall Vivaro-e. That means that the Plug-in Van Grant (PiVG) will pay for up to 35 per cent of the purchase price, up to a maximum of £6,000. E-Expert prices start from £26,965 after PiVG for the standard-length S variant with 50kWh battery pack. Peugeot claims a range of between 122 and 148 miles for this model.
Our test van, an e-Expert 75kWh Auto Asphalt offers a range of between 177 and 211 miles according to Peugeot. The extra range comes at a cost though, as it rises to £36,380 after PiVG. It’s not all about range though as Asphalt trim is a couple of trim levels up from S and includes items such as Connected 3D navigation with colour touchscreen, Peugeot’s Safety Pack, which includes: Lane Departure Warning System, Speed Limit Recognition and Recommendation, Driver Attention Assist and Smartbeam Headlights, Moduwork dual passenger seat with under-seat storage, alloy wheels with locking wheel nuts, metallic paint and Peugeot’s Look Pack, which includes body colour front and rear bumpers, side rubbing strips and exterior door handles, front fog lights and LED daytime running lights.
Anyone familiar with the Expert, launched in 2016, will know that the van is a far stronger competitor to the VW Transporter and Ford Transit Custom that its predecessor. If anything, the e-Expert, voted International Van of the Year 2021, with its siblings is better still. It offers a fully electric variant that the Ford cannot, with an electric range and price that the VW cannot match.
It drives like a diesel-powered Expert, in other words very well, but without the rumble of a diesel engine. If you want a quiet life in a van, buy an electric model. Load volume is unchanged at 5.3m3, although payload takes a hit with maximum indicative payload of 1,000kg, compared with 1,458kg for the 120 S&S 6-speed manual 1400 model. The e-Expert behaves like an automatic and Peugeot has fitted an automatic style gear selector, which sits alongside a mode selector switch (Eco, Normal and Sport), where the gear selector would normally be at the base of the dashboard. Obviously maximum range is available in Eco mode.
Performance is brisk, accompanied by the whine of the electrical systems, but the lack of noise can take pedestrians by surprise and driving with extreme caution in car parks is advisable as the e-Expert does not appear to have a low speed alarm. e-Expert was designed to have an electric powertrain from the outset, which may explain why it offers such a good range compared with its electric rivals such as the Mercedes eVito, and VW eTransporter.
If you are considering an electric van, the e-Expert is a good place to start looking. Like most of its rivals, it is an expensive option, but if you operate in the London ULEZ or one of the other emissions zones that is introducing charging for older diesel models, it would help to shorten the payback period.