Citroen is rapidly expanding its range of electric models, both cars and vans. The first commercial model to be offered as part of its electrification drive is the e-Dispatch.
Based on a regular Dispatch, the new model is powered by the same electric motor as PSA’s small electric cars. It develops 136PS and 260Nm. Top speed is restricted to 80mph.
Buyers can choose a 50kWh battery with a 143-mile range or a 75kWh version that promises 205 miles between charges. Most buyers (around 70%) are expected to opt for the larger battery pack due to concerns about range anxiety – the fear of running out of charge. This is despite PSA research suggesting that the smaller battery pack will cover the routine daily driving needs of 83% of its van customers.
We’ve opted to test the 75kWh version. In range-topping ‘Driver’ trim it costs £34,380 with the Government’s £8,000 grant taken into account.
Load volume is unaffected by the electrified powertrain, with the battery pack integrated into the van’s chassis. Citroën says the e-Dispatch offers the same practicality as its internal combustion engined (ICE)-powered counterpart.
The XS version (4.6m length) provides a 4.6 cubic metre load space and is available with a 50kWh battery. The M version is 4.95m long and can be specified with the 50kWh or the larger 75kWh unit. XL versions are 5.3m long and provide up to 6.1 cubic metres of load space. These are fitted with the larger battery only.
All have a 1,000kg payload and can tow up to 1,000kg, while 75kWh M models can be specified with a 1,200kg payload.
The van looks identical to its diesel counterpart and both have the same interior, with the exception of the electric model’s stubby drive selector switch in place of a gear stick.
Performance is similar to that of the diesel. It doesn’t set off with lightening pace or throw you back in the seat when you accelerate, but there’s ample power to keep pace on motorways or hills.
Driving the e-Dispatch is rather relaxing. Thanks to a lack of engine noise and no need to change gear, the in-cab experience is positive.
With the battery buried in the chassis, stability is excellent. The e-Dispatch offers confident handling with limited lean and high-levels of grip. You could almost call it exciting.
Our test vehicle was delivering a real-world range of about 190 miles and was able to gain an 80% charge in 45 minutes using a 100kW DC rapid charger – so range anxiety shouldn’t be an issue for too many operators, especially in urban settings.
One consideration for those that require drivers to charge at home is models with the bigger battery will take more than 11 hours to fully charge using a 7kW wallbox, compared with around seven hours for a 50kWh model.
When Groupe PSA launched the e-Dispatch it promised it would have no compromises for fleet operators. While upfront costs are higher and the complexity of installing the necessary charging infrastructure can be a challenge – other than outright range, the e-Dispatch could be viable for fleets in place of a diesel model over a longer term.