Vauxhall is making a name for itself in electric vans, having been named by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) as 2021’s best-selling electric van company, and by winning LCV Manufacturer Of The Year at 2021’s Green Fleet Awards. That’s why Vanarama Van Expert Tom Roberts is taking a closer look at their award-winning electric van range.
All 4 of the Stellantis-owned van manufacturers are big presences in the electric sector. That’s because Vauxhall, Peugeot, Fiat and Citroen offer electric vans in all 3 of the small, medium and large sectors - no other group offers such a comprehensive electric van range.
If you check out Vauxhall’s own website, the manufacturer states that it is the UK’s best-selling e-LCV manufacturer - this claim is based on SMMT figures from 2021 (which isn’t to say it’s a false claim, I’m just providing you with context). Reportedly strong sales combined with a comprehensive vehicle range (and a strong brand) led to Vauxhall being named LCV Manufacturer of the Year at the GreenFleet Awards in 2021, recognising how Vauxhall is “pioneering ‘green’ innovation and vehicle fleets in the private and public sectors”. News has also broken that Vauxhall is supplying 3,000 electric Vivaro-e medium vans to British Gas - apparently the UK’s largest LCV fleet EV order to-date - and another clear sign of Vauxhall’s commitment to a greener, cleaner future.
With that, we get to the crux of this article: Vauxhall’s entire van range is now available in all-electric versions (which we’re going to focus on today) and we know that the Vivaro-e Hydrogen version will join the range in 2023 - so, full ‘green’ ahead. Now, let’s dive head-first into the electric vans on Vauxhall’s books.
Vauxhall Combo-E Small Electric Van
The stunning little Combo-E offers drivers a WLTP all-electric range of 171 miles, which is a real-world range of closer to 152miles (which will lower under load and in colder weather). It also provides a max payload across the range of 803kg with a load volume of up to 4.4 cubic metres - there’s even a crew-cab version capable of carrying more people and slightly less load. Dual side-sliding doors are a standard option too - very handy.
The Combo-E is powered by a high-energy density 50kWh battery that is rapid-charge capable and will charge from empty up to 80% in less than 30 minutes (when you use a 100kW fast charger with the vehicle’s CCS charging port), or 7.5 hours on a home wallbox (which you can get free if you lease one of these vans from Vanarama). The battery itself is also fully protected by an 8-year warranty (or 100,000 miles) for 70% of its charge capacity - which is great peace of mind.
The Combo was already a great small van - the fact that in its electric guise it’s lost very little about what makes it so good (apart from payload, which is 200kg lower than the diesel version) is testament to how important electric vans are to Vauxhall. The company understands that even the smallest van has to perform as a practical commercial vehicle, otherwise what’s the point!?
Vauxhall Vivaro-E Medium Electric Van
The medium Vivaro-E provides drivers with a WLTP range of up to 205 miles on the 75kWh battery version (143 on the 50kWh battery version), which lowers to around 170 real-world (and even lower under load or in colder weather). The max payload across the range is over 1200kg (depending on which version you choose) and dual side-sliding doors are a standard option to provide maximum accessibility no matter which of the 3 trim levels you opt for.
Charging times are similar to the Combo-E, in that you can recharge the 50kWh battery to 80% from empty in just 30 minutes at a 100kW charger (the larger 75kWh unit takes a little longer at 45 minutes). The battery is also under the same generous 8-year warranty as the Combo-E’s.
The Vivaro-E has also scooped a noteworthy award - it is the 2022 WhatVan? Medium Van Of The Year! So… you know it’s good if the WhatVan? Team rates it so highly.
Vauxhall Movano-E Large Electric Van
For me, the Movano-E is a ‘it’s here, be happy’ kind of a van. The WLTP range is 139 miles, lowering to around 100 real-world and lower if under load or in cold weather. It has a top speed of 75mph, a power output equivalent to 120PS and offers a responsive 260Nm of torque (which for a van its size is pretty spicy).
The max payload is 2100kg (depending on the version you choose) inside the standard Movano’s cavernous cargo area. So, it’s very much the Movano we all know but with electric power - and yes, the range is an area of concern, just like its less-than-modern interior. But, that’s what platform sharing on such a ‘mature’ platform means.
What’s important to remember is that the Movano - even in its electric form - is an affordable large van with no frills. It does the job and does it well.
Vauxhall are reaping awards for their work in the electric van sector - and it’s fully justified. They know that the transition to electric is going to mean compromises somewhere, but that these compromises can be limited. That’s why you only lose around 200kg of payload in the electric versions when compared to the diesel versions. Any less payload would make the vehicles impractical.
That’s what deserves attention - electric is the future, but Vauxhall wants the future to be now. That’s why they know that the first electric versions (at least of the Combo and Vivaro) have to be worth it. And I think they are - what do you think?