By Tom Roberts - 14/04/23
Small electric vans are the smallest category of electric vans on UK roads today, with some of the most recognisable brands in the world having launched their own vans into the marketplace. As the UK’s charging infrastructure and electric vehicle ranges increase, larger numbers of van drivers (and plenty of fleets) are seriously considering switching to small electric van leasing. Vanarama Van Expert Tom Roberts takes a look at the best small electric vans on offer today.
Let’s start with the simple things - small electric vans are instantly recognisable due to being physically smaller on the outside than a typical medium electric van, such as the Vauxhall Vivaro Electric. The payload of a small electric van is usually a little less than the diesel equivalent due to the weight of the batteries and is typically around 700-800kg - which is still impressive.
If you ask those who’ve already made the switch, there are lots of benefits to leasing a new small electric van rather than a medium or large electric van, especially if you don’t need lots of space in the load area. For one, they’re easier to drive and park in towns and cities, and are generally easier to secure at home thanks to their car-like size. There’s also less chance of your load moving around in the back of a small van - a more compact loading bay limits the distance an object can move, preventing it from damaging the interior of your van and the item itself.
A small electric van can also enter the low or zero emission zones in our towns and cities, and with the long range now offered between charges, these small electric vans (especially when used on short delivery runs, such as those carried out by a typical catering company or florist) can often operate for a number of days before needing to be recharged.
So, with that covered, let’s take a look at the best small electric vans competing for your attention right now.
Vanarama’s Top 10 Small Electric Vans
The Citroen e-Berlingo is a fully-electric version of the van that is a firm favourite of tradespeople and fleets across the country. The electric motor has a power output of 136hp and (with a fully-charged battery pack) it offers an official range of around 170 miles. There’s a choice of two body lengths available, and if you’re wondering about payload the e-Berlingo small electric van can carry up to a hefty maximum of 803kgs in the back.
The Peugeot Partner small van has been the van of choice for thousands of businesses over the years, including Royal Mail which has thousands of them. Now, with the e-Partner, these enterprises can operate a van that has zero tailpipe emissions and clearly demonstrate to their customers their commitment to operating in an environmentally-friendly way. Peugeot is even offering an e-Partner for those working in more demanding conditions - the Asphalt Premium comes with mud and snow tyres, underbody protection, increased ground clearance and grip control, and it’s arguably the best package for those taking their small electric van onto more demanding terrain and surfaces.
Maxus e-Deliver 3
It’s a little bit bigger than some small vans, so if you need something that can take a decent load then the Maxus e-Deliver 3 could be the electric van for you with its load volume of 4.8 cubic metres and payload of up to 905kg. This superb practicality doesn’t come at the expense of distance between charges - an official range of 213 miles means that you’re far less likely to have to seek out a public chargepoint during your working day, and, depending on the battery pack you choose, you’ll be back up to 100% in as little as 6 hours from your home wallbox. See our Maxus e-Deliver review for more details.
Vauxhall Combo Electric
Here’s a sort of joke… what do you get when you combine the legendary Vauxhall Combo small van with a fully-electric drivetrain? The practical, reliable, comfortable, well-equipped working tool that is the completely emission free Vauxhall Combo Electric. I didn’t say it would be a laugh-out-loud joke. There are two body lengths to choose from and no compromises to be made on specification by opting for the Combo Electric over its diesel sibling. The Pro model has all the same refinements, including air conditioning, satellite navigation, cruise control and rear parking sensors.
Renault Kangoo E-Tech
The original electric Renault Kangoo was launched over 10 years ago, so the French company is arguably the expert in small electric vans. The very latest Kangoo small electric van is called the E-Tech, and is already winning industry awards. It offers an official range of up to 186 miles of emission-free driving between charges, and the inclusion of Apple and Android smartphone integration means that you won’t get lost carrying out almost silent inner-city deliveries. You’ll have no problem accessing the loadspace either, with the standard twin rear and twin side loading doors offering multiple ways inside.
Fiat E-Doblo Cargo
The very latest Fiat E-Doblo Cargo has adopted the small van platform already used by Peugeot, Citroen, Toyota and Vauxhall, but the Italian manufacturer has put its own spin on it with a very smart front end, clearly distinguishing E-Doblo from its siblings. There’s never been an electric Doblo before now, and its 136HP electric motor can drive the van for up to 175 miles (proven under test conditions) before it needs a recharge. Fiat has also included some great options - these include ‘Magic Cargo’, which lets you store loads of up to 3.4 metres long using the space under the passenger seat, and the ‘Magic Mirror’, a 5-inch digital screen which gives drivers a rear view not usually possible on a van with a bulkhead and windowless rear doors. This also acts as a reverse camera and gives blind spot coverage. Smashing!
Volkswagen iD Buzz Cargo
Proof that vans really can look cool, Volkswagen's brand new all-electric iD Buzz Cargo combines the look of the original T1 ‘Bulli’ campervan with modern styling that will look fabulous in anyone's driveway (especially the Commerce Plus model with its 19-inch alloy wheels and body-coloured bumpers). As you might expect from a van that is futuristic in appearance, it’s jam packed with the latest tech. Even the entry-level Commerce model gets smartphone integration, climate control and cruise control as standard, and Commerce Plus adds park assist, satellite navigation and a rear-view camera. The 204hp motor will cope with anything you’re likely to demand of it, and the official combined range of 254 miles makes this small electric van a realistic proposition for almost all van users.
Nissan Townstar EV
The Nissan Townstar is a newcomer to the world of zero-emission vans. It’s the direct replacement for the successful e-NV200, a van which introduced so many businesses to the benefits of running a fully-electric small van. It offers a great range of 183 miles between charges, and the 121hp motor will power the van to 60mph in 14 seconds, right up to a top speed of 84mph. For added peace of mind, it’s clear that Nissan has real confidence in its van products - the Townstar EV comes with a warranty of 5 years or 100,000 miles, with additional coverage for the battery. Our Nissan Townstar review has more info.
Toyota Proace City Electric
The award-winning Toyota Proace City Electric is similar to several other small vans available on the market due to a commercial agreement with the Stellantis group (although the company has made its version distinctive with its unique but subtle front grille). The van has three driving modes, helping you to achieve the official 161-mile range between charges. ‘Default’ is Normal, restricting power to 80kW. ‘Eco’ reduces it further to 60kW to extend range at the expense of performance, and if you want the full 100kW you’ll need to switch to ‘Power’ mode. What really sets the Toyota apart from its siblings is the warranty. While the standard 3-year/60,000-mile cover is excellent, if you have the van serviced annually at a Toyota dealer the warranty continues right up to the van’s tenth birthday (up to a 100,000-mile limit).
Citroen Ami Cargo
If you want to drive something that will turn heads when you’re delivering pizzas, or maybe small parcels in a city, you need the Citroen Ami Cargo small electric van. This tiny little vehicle has its main cargo area right next to the driver, taking up the space that would be occupied by a passenger (there is no room for anyone else in the van version). If you need a small electric van that will cover long distances, you need to look elsewhere. The Ami Cargo isn’t allowed on motorways and with a top speed of just 28mph you really wouldn’t want to go there. Its 5.5kWh battery is pretty tiny compared to other small electric vans, but you can’t charge those back up to 100% at home in 3 hours, something the little Citroen is capable of. Find out more in our Citroen Ami Cargo review.
Why Lease A Small Electric Van?
If you’re looking for a hassle-free way to drive a new small electric van, van leasing could be the perfect option. You pay affordable fixed monthly payments with no hidden costs or admin fees. You can choose to pay a low initial rental payment for your small electric van lease, making it easier to drive a new van instead of saving up a lump sum.
You decide your contract length, annual mileage and model. Servicing and maintenance can also be added to your plan as an optional extra. Plus, you don’t need to worry about depreciation or selling your van for a lower price at the end – just hand the vehicle back to us and upgrade to a new van on another deal. If you're new to leasing and would like to know more, take a look at our easy to understand van leasing guides.
Looking to lease something a bit larger? Check out our expert picks for the best medium electric vans you can lease.
Best Small Electric Van FAQs
How long does it take to charge an electric van?
The time it takes to charge an electric van depends on the battery size, whether a home AC or public DC charger is used, what output the charger has and what the onboard charger is rated at. Typically, an overnight charge at home will see the van back to 100%, while a public DC charger can generally achieve an 80% charge in under an hour.
How much does it cost to charge an electric van?
The cost of charging an electric van varies depending on your home tariff (some providers allow cheaper charging off peak), and the fact that public charge points often cost more to use.
What driving range do small electric vans have?
Small electric vans typically offer ranges between 150 and 200 miles, although driving conditions, weather, and the weight being carried can all impact the available range.
Are electric vans reliable?
There is no evidence to suggest that any electric vans currently on the market are unreliable. With less moving parts and no liquid-based fuel system to worry about, electric vans should be more reliable than diesel or petrol ones.
Are there any electric pickup trucks?
The Maxus T90EV pick up truck is the first electric pickup to be marketed in the UK and is now available to lease.