In a world of electric vehicles dominated by SUVs, family hatchbacks and saloons, it's a little bit exciting when a brand sticks its head above the parapet and launches one in a different segment. Once dominant in the family bus sector, but long since replaced by mock 4x4s, MPVs have all the requisite features to make great EVs, but there just aren't that many options.
There's the Tesla Model X, Nissan E-NV200 Combi, and... Well that's about it.
Enter the Citroën ë-SpaceTourer.
Based on the regular ICE-powered SpaceTourer (which is itself essentially a converted Dispatch van), the ë-SpaceTourer will offer huge versatility, space for up to nine people and an electric powertrain which should be useful enough for a multitude of duties.
You wouldn't expect fireworks from an ICE-powered MPV and such is the case with the pure electric ë-SpaceTourer. It sits on the EMP-2 platform and, judging by the figures, uses the same powertrain setup as the Corsa-e, Peugeot e-208 and other new EVs from the PSA Group.
With this you get a 134bhp motor with 192lb-ft of always-available torque which propels the ë-SpaceTourer to a top speed of 80mph. Acceleration figures aren't disclosed, but equally are probably not of much interest to most people. That being said, the Peugeot e-Traveller (see below) achieves it in 13.1 seconds so the Citroën almost certainly does too. Three drive modes provide different levels of available power, with Eco mode limiting power to 80bhp and torque to 140lb-ft whist also shutting off air conditioning in order to maximise range. Normal mode – the middle ground between Power and Eco – delivers 107bhp and 155lb-ft.
Regenerative braking comes in two modes, with the 'Standard' setting simulating engine braking like drivers would be used to in a conventional car. 'Enhanced' regenerative braking increases the recuperation and should allow for one pedal driving.
The battery is a 50kWh affair which on the WLTP cycle enables the Citroën to travel 143 miles on a charge. Located under the floor, it doesn't impinge on cabin space at all. When it comes to plugging in and juicing up, this can be done across all power inputs from a regular three-pin up to 100kW super-fast charging. Using a single phase, 7.4kW wallbox, charging takes seven-and-a-half hours. At the top end of the spectrum a full charge can be delivered in just 30 minutes.
Owners can control charging and check on progress via the MyCitroën app through which other functions such as cabin pre-conditioning can be managed. Furthermore, over here Citroën has partnered with Pod Point for domestic and business wallbox supply and installation, which is a bonus.
Versatility is the ë-SpaceTourer's big selling point. Available in two trim levels, one for private and one for business customers, it can be altered to suit families or those who want space for things like bikes, camping equipment dogs, children...
The 'Feel' trim level is aimed at private buyers and can be configured as a five, seven or eight seater. This can be changed depending on the owner's requirements thanks to sliding and flat-folding seats across all rows. Rear seats can be completely removed if desired. In five seat form a cavernous 2381 litres of luggage space is available.
The 'Business' edition can offer between five and nine seats and is aimed predominantly at professional drivers – such as those doing airport transfers, taxi services and even the hire industry. The additional seat comes thanks to a three-across front row.
Just because the ë-SpaceTourer is basically a van with seats doesn't mean that it suffers from a barren interior. A 7 inch touchscreen, whilst admittedly small, provides the interface through which many of the car's settings are controlled, and also incorporates voice controlled Connected Navigation with TomTom Traffic live traffic which is provided free-of-charge for three years.
Connect Play deals with the entertainment side of things, offering Mirror Screen for smartphone connectivity and supporting Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Bluetooth is the main connection method, but up-front there's an audio jack as well as 12V USB sockets in the front, second and third rows. There are even 220V sockets in the second and third rows, sun blinds and fold-down trays.
Depending on which boxes a buyer ticks, the ë-SpaceTourer is available with a head-up display, active safety braking, hill start assist, driver attention alert, blind sport monitoring, collision risk alert and a reversing camera with top rear vision.
Unfortunately we don't have any official word on how much the Citroën ë-SpaceTourer will cost when it hits UK showrooms a little later this year. Its closest rival is the Nissan E-NV200 Combi which starts at £29,755 but doesn't quite match up to the French car's spec. Given that a regular SpaceTourer starts at just under £35,000, we would expect the electric version to come in close to £40k. Watch this space as we'll let you know the damage as soon as we do!
We've showcased the Citroën here but if you want essentially the same MPV with a different name badge on it then there are other options from within the PSA group. Vauxhall followed Citroën with the announcement of its Vivaro-e Life which is available in the same powertrain and numbers attached to it.
The Vivaro-e Life is available in two sizes – Medium at 4.95 metres, and Long at 5.3 metres – each of which has that configurable interior with space for up to nine people. In long form, the Vivaro-e Life has up to 4500 litres of luggage capacity. All electric Vivaros are also connected to the Vauxhall Connect e-services via the myVauxhall app which integrates with Free2Move Services allowing owners to manage navigation and charging with ease.
For those who want a French badged car, but not a Citroën, fear not as Peugeot's version – the e-Traveller – is heading to the UK in the latter half of the year. It shares the same specifications as both the Citroën and the Vauxhall and also comes in medium and long form.
All of these MPVs share the same eight year, 100,000 mile warranty which guarantees the battery will retain 70 per cent of its capacity after that time and use.