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Van of the Year 2021: Best Electric Van
The running costs for the Vauxhall Vivaro-e are as low as you can get, but it's a winner here because it couples that with all-round practicality and great driving manners...
WINNER: Best Electric Van
Priced from £27,028 Range 143-205 miles CO2 emissions 0g/km Load space 5.3-6.1m3 Payload 1002-1226kg Power 136bhp Torque 192lb ft
The chances are that you’ll buy an electric van for economic or environmental reasons, so perhaps it’s no surprise that the van we name as delivering best value for its ownership costs is also our overall winner in this class.
However, don’t make the mistake of thinking the Vauxhall Vivaro-e is a worthy winner only for the rational reasons of being able to save you money in terms of taxation and fuel costs, because while that is true, there is also far more to it than that.
For instance, it runs the Mercedes eSprinter close as a calm, comfortable and fun van to drive. Its 75kW motor – equivalent to 136bhp – delivers strong pace without the need to change gear and with the bonus of instant torque that propels you off the line in a flash.
Its claimed range – 143 or 205 miles depending which model you buy – which in the real world we would estimate is good for at least 100-150 miles, is more than enough for most van drivers to complete a day’s work. And, for those who need to go farther, the Vivaro-e supports rapid charging of up to 100kW – at it's peak, this will charge from 0-80% in 32 minutes. Rivals such as the Mercedes-Benz eVito can not match this.
You might also have expected the Volkswagen ABT eTransporter to challenge the e-Vivaro on residual values, but whereas the combustion-engined versions of the German van deliver strong figures, the relatively unknown electric conversion has yet to convince the market. As a result, the Vivaro-e beats the more expensive eTransporter for ownership value. In fact, current predictions are for it to hold more value over a typical ownership cycle than the Citroën e-Dispatch and Peugeot e-Expert, to which it’s very closely related.
Yes, there are quibbles: we’d prefer its driving mode controls to be steering-wheel mounted and for some stronger regenerative braking to be available, but at present the Vivaro-e is a great example of how an electric van can deliver as an all-round package.
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