Following a busy launch-filled 2019, Vanarama van expert Tom Roberts takes a look forward to 2020 & everything he's looking forward to seeing in the light commercial vehicles marketplace over the next 12 months.
As we hurtle towards 2020 at an increasing pace, it's the best time to preview some of the bigger light commercial vehicle launches of the next 12 months. There's electricity in the air (pun definitely intended), so let's get going.
All-Electric Groupe PSA Vans On The Way
Groupe PSA, owners of Citroen, Peugeot & Vauxhall, has confirmed that all-electric versions, not mild hybrid versions that some outlets expected, of their popular medium size vans the Citroen Dispatch, Peugeot Expert & Vauxhall Vivaro will go on sale in 2020. If you haven't seen them they're the vans that lack roof heights, but make up for it with excellent long wheelbase version.
After swapping the diesel engines for electric motors, Vauxhall's van will be called the Vivaro-e, Peugeot's will be the e-Expert, but Citroen are still umming & ahhing over whether the Dispatch will just be called "Electric" or just something with an 'E' in it. The standard fuel versions of these medium vans are built in Luton, but it's been confirmed that these electric versions will be built at the Groupe PSA plant in France.
The two battery sizes & their respective ranges on launch will be a 50-kilowatt hour battery with a 124-mile range & a 75-kilowatt hour version with a 186-mile range.
Considering it shares the same platform as these 3 vans, it will come as little shock to learn that the Toyota Proace will join these electric vans in 2020 (more on that later).
Electric versions of the Peugeot Boxer & Citroen Relay were confirmed early in 2019 & should see the light of day in 2020 too. It'll put a bit of pressure on the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, the Volkswagen E-Crafter & the surely-soon-to-land electric version of the Ford Transit Custom!
The VW Transporter Is Getting A Facelift
The popular T6 Transporter - my personal favourite medium van - is being upgraded to the T6.1 with first UK orders due to be hitting the dealers in March 2020.
The new exterior has been designed to increase cooling capacity for new engines that boast excellent fuel economy as standard, while the interior continues to get even more car-like with the addition of large digital screens & VW's excellent infotainment system.
We'll no doubt see these updates roll into camper van conversions & if I can make a personal request to VW: please insulate the new campers more than you already do, last time the wife & I rented one our feet were freezing!
Also, it would be great to review one for the Vanarama YouTube channel… just saying.
Welcome The Toyota Proace City Small Van
I was lucky enough to attend Toyota's official European launch event for the new Proace & Proace City vans in Rome this year, which revealed a lot more about the product's launch plan following a soft launch at this year's CV Show (where the LDV EV30 was debuted).
Unsurprisingly considering Toyota's relationship with Groupe PSA, the Proace City is based on the same platform as Groupe PSA's other small vans. The Proace City will boast a superb five-year warranty & a wide array of trim levels.
Here Come The All-Electric Toyota Commercials
Also at the event in Rome, Toyota confirmed it will add battery electric versions of the established Proace medium van & new Proace City compact van to its light commercial vehicle (LCV) lineup over the next 2 years under the name "Proace Electric".
Toyota has always had its feet firmly in the Hybrid camp, but it's no surprise that alternative fuel types are coming to its LCV lineup. That's why it was great to hear Tim Thompson, Senior Manager, Marketing Management of Commercial Vehicles at Toyota Motor Europe, confirm that electric versions of the Proace & Proace City vans will debut over the next 2 years – the Proace medium van in 2020 & Proace City small van in 2021.
Gearing Up For The Next-Gen VW Caddy
Finally, the next-generation Caddy will make its debut towards the end of 2020 - but it's spy shots are out there. Official details are hard to come by, but it's safe to say it will be built on the MQB car platform that's used by cars such as the VW Golf.
The next-gen Caddy will undoubtedly serve as a test bed for the new Ford Transit Connect. After all, it's easy to forget the agreement signed between Ford & VW that was announced - this is what it's no doubt heading towards.
The reason I put this at number 1 is because of THAT agreement. Who knows what the future holds when 2 powerhouses like VW & Ford partner up? I, for one, am really excited to see what details emerge over 2020.