Overview of the Citroen Electric Berlingo
Looking for a willing workhorse that’s strong, spacious, sturdy – and all-electric? The new Citroen Electric Berlingo is a van for budget-conscious traders who need all the practicality of a diesel van, but want to do their bit for the environment (and their overheads).
If you’re looking to build a greener, more socially responsible image for your brand and want to keep emissions and costs down, the new Citroen Electric Berlingo is an excellent place to look. It’s enjoyable to drive, offers decent acceleration, and is just as practical as a conventional van.
And because there is no need to refill it with diesel every day, you can charge it overnight at home so it’s ready for a day of work in the morning.
Here’s a rundown of what it’s all about:
On The Road
The range of available models has been updated for 2017, with a bigger L2 model now sitting alongside the existing L1 line. They’re both powered by a 49kW electric motor that delivers a decent 200Nm of torque, as well as a willing 66bhp. Both models are front-wheel-drive only.
Performance isn’t excellent, and the van has a top speed of just 70mph, but it’s not the reason to get excited by a van like this anyway. Moreover, it’s got enough oomph to excel in the city, where it comes in handy in congested areas.
Driving it is simple enough! All you need to do to “fire it up” is turn the key, switch the auto transmission to drive, release your handbrake – and away you fly.
The Citroen Electric Berlingo is pretty lively once you put your foot down. There is plenty of torque available immediately, which helps you to get out of the traps quickly. It’s hardly a Tesla, but the pulling power available will suffice and ensures a pleasant driving experience.
We wouldn’t go as far as saying it’s a fun car to drive, but it’s hassle-free.
However, there is a glaring caveat: At speed – and especially on motorways – the Berlingo EV suffers from what so many electric vehicles suffer from, which can basically be called speed anxiety. It finds it hard to keep up, and overtaking is practically impossible.
For buyers who’ll be spending most of their time in the city, this won’t be a problem. Traffic is a breeze, and getting from A to B is a cinch, even on a full load.
The electric motor is as quiet as a mouse, but that also has its disadvantages – not only will pedestrians not hear you coming, but you’ll also hear all the groans and moans of the fixtures and fittings, as well as any luggage that’s tossed around in your cabin as you take sharp turns.
Charging the van is pretty simple, provided you’re at home or near a charging station. You can do a full charge with a household 240v socket in around ten hours. The van also comes with a quick charging socket that does a full recharge in just thirty minutes via dedicated terminals.
Citroen Electric Berlingo Interior, Design & Build
One of the chief benefits of an electric van’s interior is that there is no transmission tunnel, which frees up more legroom. Citroen has added dual-passenger seats up front, creating room for three people to sit in relative comfort. This seating arrangement is actually one of its kind in this sector.
That said, anyone sat in the middle might feel a bit squashed!
Air conditioning is mercifully added as standard, and you can turn it on before you even enter the cabin, thanks to Smartphone app operated remote controls. You can also use these controls to remotely check your charge level.
The van’s payload is 552kg, which is par for the course for a van of this size, meaning you don’t lose out if you make the switchover to electric. Load length comes in at 1,800mm for the L1 variant and 2,050mm for the L2 model, while you can fold the passenger seats to increase the Berlingo’s load length to around 3,250mm. Meanwhile, its load volume will extend to as much as 4.1 cubic metres.
This all means the van can cope easily with all kinds of bulky accessories and objects, such as ladder, battens, planks, pipes and rails.
Equipment & Safety Of The Citroen Electric Berlingo
Standard kit across the range is decent, but not excellent. All models get the likes of air conditioning, a 7” infotainment system, electric windows and remote central locking as part of the purchase price, but you’ll need to pay extra to get your hands on a few luxuries, such as a DAB digital radio and Bluetooth.
Somewhat handier optional extras include further exterior protection and seat coverings. You can also have your vehicle ply-lined if you wish.
In terms of safety, it’s a strong van that should offer good protection in the event of a crash. Airbags and electronic stability control are among its standard safety kit.
Costs Of The Citroen Electric Berlingo
Prices for the new car start out from £22,022, a price that includes a government grant. If you prefer to lease, you can pick up a deal from £129 + VAT per month. For more information on our leasing deals, check out our page here.
The reason its listing price is so glaringly high is that the battery packs are included and can’t be leased separately. In case you’re worried about longevity, Citroen offers an extended eight-year warranty that is the equivalent to 60,000 miles – whatever comes first.
In terms of range, Citroen claim the Electric Berlingo can go for as much as 106 miles on a single charge. However, that’s highly optimistic. The exact range you manage will depend on how you’re driving, as well as how often you’re using some of the features, such as the air conditioning. Heavy usage can be taxing on the range.
In real-world conditions, it’s much more realistic to expect a range of eighty miles on a full charge. That works out at around £2 for every 40 miles.
The Citroen Electric Berlingo is exempt from the London Congestion Charge, and you can save as much as £10.50 per day if you live in the City. That will soon add up over the course of a week. EV parking up and down the UK, and you won’t need to contribute towards Vehicle Excise Duty, which delivers more savings (£230).
According to Citroen themselves, maintenance costs are up to 40% lower than a conventional diesel-powered van.
Pros And Cons Of The Citroen Electric Berlingo
Easy To Drive
It couldn’t be any simpler to start up, and it’s an excellent work partner for city tradesmen.
If one of your main reasons for considering an electric van is that you’d like to do your bit for the environment, the Citroen emits zero CO2.
Three people can sit upfront. When you need more luggage space, you can easily fold the side seat.
Citroen claims a range of 106 miles, but it’s very unlikely you’ll get anywhere near that in real-world conditions.
Useless On The Motorway
Its 66bhp just doesn’t have the power to overtake on faster roads.
Should I Buy A Citroen Electric Berlingo?
If you need a practical, willing van that’s excellent in the city and which is also user-friendly, this three-seater is a solid choice. It’s so easy to drive that it will make otherwise tricky city deliveries easy, it has a claimed range of 106 miles, and it’s far cheaper to run than conventional diesel.
One for the future or one for now? Where the Citroen Electric Berlingo is concerned, it’s ready to help your business right now.