Citroën ë-Relay

Enterprise L3H2 70kWh Panel Van

The Citroën ë-Relay offers better range than some rivals, but it’s not as polished as the ë-Berlingo or ë-Dispatch, reckons John Kendall

Citroën ë-Relay

Enterprise L3H2 70kWh Panel Van

The Citroën ë-Relay offers better range than some rivals, but it’s not as polished as the ë-Berlingo or ë-Dispatch, reckons John Kendall

Citroën has hit the ground running with its electric vans, partly by good planning and partly by luck. With the ë-Berlingo and ë-Dispatch, the company has electric vans that are currently ahead of most of the competition. Both were designed with an electric powertrain as part of the product line-up, so there was no need to convert an existing diesel-powered model.

The longer model cycle of the Relay means that although the current model can trace its origins back to 2006, a replacement is not due quite yet and Citroën has had to look at an aftermarket conversion for its largest model. That means it doesn’t look as finished and polished as its smaller stablemates and neither does it have as great a range as its smaller siblings. Just the same, a range of up to 139 from the larger 70kWh battery pack, available with the longer L2 and L4 models compares favourably with a number of rivals – the MAN TGE and Mercedes Sprinter, for instance. The Maxus E Deliver 9 is currently the leader of the pack where range is concerned. Opt for the smaller 37kWh battery pack and range drops to a maximum of 73 miles on a full charge, which may well suit an urban service operation where daily vehicle mileage is low.

The conversion, by Turkish converter Bedeo functions well. Inevitably, the dashboard ends up with the look and feel of an aftermarket conversion. The gear selector buttons look like additions to the dashboard and instruments such as the rev counter, fuel and temperature gauges have just had their needles removed, leaving redundant instruments in place. Details of range, remaining charge, battery voltage and current are shown in a display mounted in the rear-view mirror.

All ë-Relays are based on the well-equipped Enterprise model. Features include a 5-inch colour touchscreen with DAB radio and integrated satellite navigation, as well as air conditioning and a perimetric alarm. Rear parking sensors are also included.

Driving the ë-Relay is as straightforward as any other electric van. Once switched on, it’s just a matter of selecting D for drive and setting off. There is no adjustment for the regenerative braking, as in the smaller ë-Berlingo and ë-Dispatch but some drivers and fleet operators would welcome something that doesn’t require additional driver input. The years spent refining the Relay cab are not lost on the ë-Relay, which benefits from the numerous storage spaces in the dash, the doors and under the seats.

Rearward visibility benefits from the split door mirrors with a lower wide-angle section, which provides a good check on overtaking vehicles, or cyclists and motorcyclists on the nearside. Since both the larger standard top section and lower wide-angle section can both be adjusted electrically, the driver can set the mirrors up to provide good visibility along both vehicle sides.

With the battery packs mounted under the load floor, there is no intrusion into the load area, which remains the same as diesel-fuelled models. The low load floor makes for easy loading and there is plenty of room for pallet loading in our L3H2 example.

Current fuel prices will help to make the ë-Relay’s high pricing more acceptable, helping to tip TCO in favour of the electric model. Even so there is an expectation that diesel prices will fall again in the longer term and it would be worth some careful analysis to get a good picture of how well the ë-Relay would suit your operating cycles.


Jeep Compass and Renegade all new e-Hybrid powertrain


There are currently few electric competitors in the heavy van sector, which helps to make the case for the ë-Relay. That will change this year when the E-Transit arrives, but for now ë-Relay can offer a proven heavy van with competitive range.


WHAT IS IT? Large van

HOW MUCH? £58,355 (ex-VAT) after PiVG

RANGE? up to 139 miles (WLTP certified)


GROSS PAYLOAD? up to 1,150kg

DRIVE? 120hp (90kW) motor driving the front wheels

Key fleet model Citroën ë-Relay Enterprise L3H2 70kWh Panel Van

👍 Acceptable range from 70kWh battery

👎 Not as polished as the smaller electric Citroën vans

7-word summary Better than some, but competition is growing

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