We look at the best electric MPVs you can buy today
Electric vans are becoming extremely popular among businesses due to their low running costs and exclusion from ultra-low emission zone charges. The thing is, when a manufacturer develops an electric van you can be fairly sure that a minibus version will follow. Here, we look at the best options on the market today.
We’re limiting our round-up of the best five to electric minibuses that you could go out and buy today, with each being able to carry seven or more people in space and comfort. Like electric vans, many of them share a common powertrain and on the face of it are limited in range. However, for shuttling people around urban areas, just like their more utilitarian panel van counterparts, electric minibuses are actually the perfect tools for the job.
Vauxhall Vivaro-e Life
This is the first of three minibuses in this list that are based on a common platform – the EMP2 electric platform from the PSA Group. It’s cropping up everywhere, underpinning everything from the Vauxhall Corsa to this, a minibus capable of hauling around up to nine people. Of course, the overriding sense when driving the Vauxhall is one of driving a van, which is perhaps unsurprising.
We were less than impressed by its range, too, which is limited thanks to the weight and 50kWh battery. On a mixture of roads we saw around 100 miles of range vs. 143 miles in official testing, but in a town or city that’s probably plenty. The pluses of vast amounts of space and practicality, versatility, and a base-spec £32,495 price tag that doesn’t break the bank make the Vivaro-e Life a potential bargain in this list. Read our review.
If you want what is essentially the same minibus as the Vauxhall, but with a French lion in place of the Luton griffin, then this is the vehicle for you. It’s powered by the same 134bhp, 192lb-ft motor and 50kWh battery combo, giving the same 0-62mph time of 13 seconds and top speed of 80mph. It also gets the ability to haul up to nine people around and masses of versatility when you’re not.
The Peugeot e-Traveller fairly well equipped, getting 180-degree rear parking cameras, Open and Go keyless entry, Xenon headlights, electric sliding doors, 3D nav and head-up display in top ‘Allure’ spec. Even in the lower ‘Active’ spec, there’s plenty to write home about. Where it loses out to the Vauxhall is in the price department, coming in at £37,430 as a starting point and therefore missing out on the plug-in car grant.
The final instalment of electric minibuses based on the EMP2 platform comes in the shape of the Citroën ë-SpaceTourer. It get the same powertrain as the above two minibuses and can seat up to eight, and we reckoned that whatever Citroën has done with the chassis has worked because it’s the most car-like of this trio to drive, as well as the most refined.
It too suffers from issues around range and we opted to leave it in ‘Eco’ mode which limits the power, but maximises how far you can go. Our experience saw around 110 miles being an accurate real-world figure. Luckily, all 110 of those miles are spent in a nicely trimmed interior which was comfy and hid its roots as a van fairly well. However, you do pay the price for a higher quality minibus, with this Citroën ë-SpaceTourer coming in at £48,615. Read our review.
Feeling flush and want to carry eight in a minibus with a premium badge to match its £70,665 price tag? Look no further than the Mercedes EQV. It’s a cut above the other minibuses on this list in pretty much every respect, getting 201bhp and 268lb-ft from its motor, alongside a much larger 90kWh battery for an official range of 213 miles – which should see an easy 150 in the real world.
It also gets Mercedes’ latest MBUX infotainment system with the EQ (electric-specific) functionality built-in as standard. A 10 inch touchscreen alongside voice control, top-notch navigation and a long list of driver aids and tech features goes some way to further justifying the price, which is around double the cheapest minibus on this list.
If none of the above fit the bill, you need space for 13 or simply want a van which is based on a very old platform, the LDV EV80 is the one to go for. It’s much larger than the four minibuses listed above, but is also far more utilitarian and is a regular van converted to electric power, rather than a purpose-built EV.
Powertrain wise, it’s quite similar to the PSA Group trio thanks to a 56kWh battery combined with a 134bhp, 236b-ft motor providing up to 120 miles of range – albeit LDV measures this on the old NEDC test rather than the up-to-date WLTP cycle, so it’s a generous figure! The other downside to this option is the price, which begins at around £60k. However, if you need to carry more people, the LDV EV80 is possibly the van for you by default.