Peugeot e-Partner van review

Brilliant breakdown + serious savings

Brilliant breakdown + serious savings

RAC Breakdown cover from just £7 a month*. Plus FREE Battery Replace!^  

*New, single vehicle-based cover. £7 a month for Basic cover. ^For 1 nominated vehicle when added to Extra or Complete cover. New customers only. Ends 26/02/24, 7am.

Brilliant breakdown + serious savings

Peugeot's e-Partner van uses shared underpinnings but still manages to offer something a little different. Jonathan Crouch tries it.

Ten Second Review

The e-Partner is Peugeot's eco-friendly small EV van for urban businesses looking to make the switch to full-battery power. It's a shared Stellantis Group design, but differs from its badge-engineered cousins with a completely different instrument binnacle and steering wheel design, which delivers a completely different feel at the wheel.

Background

Peugeot is a brand with plenty of track record when it comes to EV propulsion, with an electric history going all the way back to the VLV model of 1941, several hundred of which found their way onto the streets of Paris. And in the modern era, the company was producing mainstream EVs long before brands like Renault and Nissan supposedly pioneered them. Over 3,500 battery-charged versions of the little 106 hatchback were sold between 1995 and 2003.

It's taken the company some time to get into its stride with sales of EV vans though. We had to wait until 2021 (ten years after Renault bought us its first full-battery LCV) for electric versions of the marque's three mainstream LCVs to appear. Including this model, the e-Partner, which shares its design and drivetrain with three other Stellantis Group models (the Citroen e-Berlingo, the Vauxhall Combo Electric and the Fiat E-Doblo) and one Toyota commercial vehicle (the Proace City Electric). Unlike those close cousins though, this Peugeot is differentiated by more than just badges on the grille and steering wheel. As we're about to see.

Driving Experience

The powertrain in use here is familiar from so many other small Stellantis Group EV models, based around a 50kWh battery powered by a front-mounted 136hp electric motor. What's different is the unique 'i-Cockpit' dashboard design with its smaller steering wheel, which encourages satisfying wrist-flick turns through town and makes parking easy. That steering is pretty light for open road use - and can get a little twitchy on faster routes. But the suspension feel is settled and well judged in town. There's a toggle switch for transmission settings and three drive modes - 'Eco', 'Normal' and 'Power'.

You won't want to spend too long in 'Eco', unless you really are eeking out battery capacity because it reduces the powertrain's output to just 80bhp and also restricts the climate system to conserve power. Peugeot expects that you'll do most of your driving in the 'Normal' setting, which increases the motor output to 107bhp. The top 'Power' mode isn't really intended for sporty driving but for situations when you're carrying heavy loads.

The powertrain also has a 'B' setting which increases the level of regenerative braking to a point where the van slows so much when you come off throttle that you'll very rarely need to use the brake, unless you're coming to a complete stop. You need that B setting to get anywhere near the official driving range, which is claimed at 171 miles. The rest to 62 mph sprint takes 11.7s and the top speed is restricted to just 81mph, so this EV won't be as good as its diesel counterpart for extended motorway runs.

Design and Build

The exterior of the e-Partner is smart but forgettable. You certainly wouldn't guess from a glance at it that no combustion engine lurked beneath the bonnet. Unless you were eagle-eyed enough to notice the lack of exhaust pipes anyway. As in the combustion Partner range, there's a choice of standard or long wheelbase body styles, the latter offering sliding doors on both sides rather than just a single one.

The main difference over this model's Stellantis Group small van design cousins comes inside. You might have expected Peugeot's bean counters to dump the unusual 'i-Cockpit' dashboard design that features in the brand's cars. That would have reduced production costs by creating more commonality with the E-Doblo, e-Berlingo and Combo Electric models that roll down the same production line. But no, the 'i-Cockpit' layout reappears again with this e-Partner, as usual forcing you to look over the top of the smaller, lower-set steering wheel (rather than through it) at a tinier set of analogue instrument dials.

An e-Toggle drive mode selector in place of the gear stick of the diesel model and the drive modes are selected by a switch alongside. There's the usual two-person passenger front seat, along with an 8-inch centre touchscreen featuring 'Apple CarPlay' and 'Android Auto' smartphone-mirroring. And avoiding base trim gets you Peugeot's 'Multi-Flex' package (optional on the base model) where the passenger seat back folds down to create a desk surface, with a flap allowing long items to be poked through from the load bay. There's no lack of storage space in the cab: 16 storage points according to Peugeot, these including a 15-litre area in the centre console.

Market and Model

After deduction of the available £2,500 Plug-in van grant, Peugeot wants around £28,500 from you for this e-Partner Electric excluding VAT - about the same as a Citroen e-Berlingo. This undercuts the comparable Vauxhall Combo Electric by around £1,500 but it's still nearly £10,000 than the comparable diesel Partner version. With this EV model, there's a choice of 'Profession Premium+' or plusher 'Asphalt Premium+' levels of trim. The base price just quoted is for the short wheelbase Standard-length version. It's probably worth stretching to the long wheelbase variant, which only costs £855 more. There's also a Crew Van variant with a second fold-out seating row, only available in 'Professional Premium+' trim for around £31,000 ex VAT after grant deduction.

Both levels of trim include quite a lot. You can tick off a sliding side door (twin sliding side doors on the Long version), plus automatic headlights, air conditioning and an 8-inch centre infotainment touchscreen with 'Apple CarPlay' and 'Android Auto' smartphone-mirroring. You also get cruise control, a colour 3.5-inch multi-information instrument binnacle display, Bluetooth, a DAB audio system and door mirrors that are heated and power adjustable. 'Asphalt Premium+' trim gets you a 'Visibility Pack' with automatic wipers, heated and powered folding mirrors and front fog lights. With 'Asphalt Premium+' trim, Peugeot also includes its 'Multi-Flex' system which allows you to push through items from the cargo bay into the cab and fold down the passenger seat to create a handy table. Across the range, there are two USB ports in the cab and your dealer will offer you accessories like rubber floor mats and ply lining for the load space.

Practicalities and Costs

As with the other Stellantis Group vans which share this one's design, you'll be pleased to learn that the EV powertrain doesn't compromise practicality. Total capacity depends on your choice between Standard-length (4.4-metres long) and Long (4.75-metres long) body styles. There's the usual side-opening siding door (two on the Long version) and twin side-hinged rear doors that open to 180 degrees. The Standard-length body shape offers 3,090mm of cargo area load length, with a maximum load height of 1,200mm and a maximum load width between the wheel arches of 1,229mm. The Long body shape offers 3,440mm of cargo area load length. More space can be freed up with the clever 'Multi-Flex' feature. This uses a folding front passenger bench to add an extra 0.4m3, while also increasing the maximum load length by 1.3m. Maximum load volume including the 'Multi-Flex' system on the Standard-length version is 3.8m3; on the Long model, it's 4.4m3. The maximum payload is up to 800kg (750kg for the Long version) and there's a 1-tonne towing capacity - all figures being the same as with the diesel varaint.

We gave you the range figure - 171 miles - in our 'Driving' section: bear in mind that with any extended high-speed driving, you'll see that figure plummet very quickly. You can charge the 50kWh battery from a 100kW public rapid charger from 0-80% in 30 minutes. When connected to a 7kW garage wallbox, you'll need seven and a half hours to fully replenish the battery; or five hours with an 11kW onboard charger. This Peugeot can't match the 10 year warranty cover you get on a comparable Toyota Proace City Electric but there's the usual 3 year/60,000 mile warranty and the battery gets separate cover up that promises to retain up to 70% of its capacity over 8 years or 100,000 miles.

Summary

Peugeot's unusual 'i-Cockpit' dashboard design takes on added importance here as it's the one thing that properly differentiates this e-Partner from its Citroen, Fiat, Vauxhall and Toyota design stablemates. If you like the different interior approach and find prices similar to those other models, then the e-Partner is an easy pick. Provided you also think it superior to the Renault Kangoo and Nissan Townstar shared EV van design that also competes in this segment.

That alternative is a strong contender, but so also is this e-Partner. Peugeot is a decade behind its home market rival Renault in bringing a small EV van to market but this one gives that Kangoo E-Tech model line strong competition. The charging times, range figures and practicality stats all add up. Whether the premium for electric van ownership will for your company is of course another story. If it does, that this one deserves a place on your shopping list.

RAC Breakdown Cover

Join the RAC and get Breakdown Cover. Our patrols fix most breakdowns on the spot, with repairs done in just 30 minutes on average.

RAC Breakdown Cover
RAC Breakdown Cover