One of the highlights from last week's Regent Street Motor Show, was the addition of Citroën's latest electrical LCV products. The UK market for new vans shrunk by 11% in October, with tradesmen and smaller companies seriously concerned about the new air quality standards being implemented across the UK. Will Citroën's determination to evolve into an EV leader, help it pick up market share from those deserting the diesel van market? WhichEV investigates the product offering, challenges and opportunities.
October's stat for new van sales actually masks a complex story. Despite the recent negative trend, more than 311,000 new commercial vehicles have already started driving on the UK's roads in 2019. The vast majority using fossil fuels.
Citroën's Berlingo range was the 7th best seller in October and the company's plans to electrify its range makes for positive reading for fans of both EVs and the environment.
Talking about the new commercial vehicles, Citroën's Product and Strategy Director Laurence Hansen said, “We're launching a major product offensive on the electrification of our light commercial vehicle range. The objective is to market an electrified version of each of our vans by 2021“.
The stated aim for Citroën, is to have a 100% electrical range by the end of 2025.
Conscious of the cost of moving to new vehicles, Citroën will be offering electric versions of products like the Dispatch with two battery options:-
124 miles on WLTP cycle with a 50kWh battery
186 miles on WLTP cycle with a 75kWh battery
Recent product announcements from MG and Mini also favour more modest batteries – to help make the purchase price more attractive. Sure, you have less range, but 124 miles is enough for multiple trips across a city and close to being enough to get you from London to Birmingham.
The company's designers have been working to make the interiors of these commercial vans flexible for the various businesses that might buy them. Specifically, with raised suspension for heavy loads, protection plates, grip control and driver assistance.
The Berlingo Electric that we inspected at the Regent Street Motor Show, was priced at £28,000 with rear parking sensors, hard plastic protection in the cargo hold and a claimed rapid charge mode that can take you to 80% in 30 minutes.
If Citroën's parent company (PSA) and Fiat Chrysler go ahead with a proposed €40 billion merger, it will be interesting to see how the various EV technologies and competencies are transferred between brands and divisions.
The likelihood of mass redundancies is hard to ignore.