Peugeot e-Expert electric van review

Category: Electric Van

A sensible real-world range, a big selection of body sizes and plenty of standard kit count in the e-Expert's favour, but rivals cost less and interior space is a bit cramped.

Peugeot e-Expert 2021 front
  • Peugeot e-Expert 2021 front
  • Peugeot e-Expert 2021 rear right tracking
  • Peugeot e-Expert 2021 interior dashboard
  • Peugeot e-Expert 2021 interior infotainment
  • Peugeot e-Expert 2021 left tracking
  • Peugeot e-Expert 2021 badge detail
  • Peugeot e-Expert 2021 charging detail
  • Peugeot e-Expert 2021 interior driver display
  • Peugeot e-Expert 2021 interior detail
  • Peugeot e-Expert 2021 front
  • Peugeot e-Expert 2021 rear right tracking
  • Peugeot e-Expert 2021 interior dashboard
  • Peugeot e-Expert 2021 interior infotainment
  • Peugeot e-Expert 2021 left tracking
  • Peugeot e-Expert 2021 badge detail
  • Peugeot e-Expert 2021 charging detail
  • Peugeot e-Expert 2021 interior driver display
  • Peugeot e-Expert 2021 interior detail
What Car?’s Expert deals

Introduction

What Car? says...

If you've been put off the idea of an electric van by range and payload concerns, the Peugeot e-Expert could be the answer. 

Based on the medium-sized Peugeot Expert van, which shares its underpinnings with the Citroen Dispatch, Toyota Proace and Vauxhall Vivaro, the e-Expert is a near carbon copy of the diesel version, with the obvious difference that it's electric-powered

It's available in three body sizes, with load volumes that span from 5.1m3 to 6.6m3, opening it up to a great number of buyers than the battery-powered Toyota Proace Electric and Vauxhall Vivaro-e. So whether you want a full-sized van or something similar to the diminutive Renault Kangoo E-Tech, it has you covered.

As for the all-important range issue, a choice of 50kWh and 75kWh batteries give the e-Expert an official range of 143 or 205 miles respectively, according to the WLTP test procedure. All vans are powered by a 100kW (134bhp) electric motor producing 192lb ft of torque. 

So, read on through this review to find out what the Peugeot e-Expert is like to drive, how good the interior is, how much it will cost to run and more.

We'll also tell you whether it has what it takes to get ahead of rivals in the electric van class. There are plenty of alternatives to consider, including the Mercedes-Benz eVito and Maxus E Deliver 3. There’s also several plug-in hybrid models to consider, including the Ford Transit Custom PHEV and the London taxi-based LEVC VN5.

Read more: How we test vans

Overview

A sensible real-world range, a big selection of body sizes and plenty of standard kit count in the e-Expert's favour, but rivals cost less and interior space is a bit cramped.

  • High payloads for an EV
  • Plenty of body sizes
  • Generous equipment and features
  • Costly to purchase
  • Vauxhall Vivaro-e residuals are better
  • Needs more space in the footwell

Performance & drive

What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is

The Peugeot e-Expert’s 100kW electric motor produces only 134bhp, but it feels much punchier than those raw numbers suggest. When you put your foot down, you’re met with 192lb ft of instantaneous torque that has the van scampering away from traffic lights in a calm, fuss-free and relentless manner. Acceleration tails off at motorway speeds, but the overall performance is similar to its diesel engine counterparts and other electric vans.

While Peugeot quotes a WLTP-certified range of 143 miles for the smaller 50kWh battery and 205 miles for the larger 75kWh battery, those figures are a little ambitious in the real world. We would estimate around 110 miles and 175 miles respectively are achievable with a modest load, but just be aware that motorway driving zaps how far any electric vehicle will go, so if you’re looking for a van to use for long journeys regularly, a traditional diesel alternative might suit you better. 

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Helpfully, the usable range of the e-Expert can be carefully managed using three different driving modes: Normal, Power and Eco. Normal mode provides you with 80% power and torque, but if you want the full amount you’ll have to switch into Power mode. Eco limits the outputs, cutting available power to 60% of the total and torque down to 70%. While it doesn’t sound like a big cut, it's enough to noticeably hold back the instantaneous burst of acceleration associated with electric cars and vans.

There's also a ‘B’ mode, which maximises the effect of the regenerative (energy recovery system) braking to a point where the force is enough to make using the brake pedal less necessary. It’s effective, but a third, more powerful mode would be welcome, and toggling to the optimum setting would be easier if the selection controls were on the steering wheel. The way the same controls are implemented on the Mercedes eVito seems much more thoroughly thought through. 

On the whole, though, the e-Expert stops and goes admirably well. Wind and road noise are impressive by the standards of the class, while the complete absence of engine noise makes it significantly more relaxing to drive than an equivalent Peugeot Expert diesel.

Peugeot e-Expert 2021 rear right tracking

Interior

The interior layout, fit and finish

The Peugeot e-Expert’s interior is almost identical to the standard diesel-powered Expert’s, and that’s no bad thing. If you look closely at the instrument cluster, you’ll notice that the usual rev counter is replaced by a power meter.

The meter shows when you are charging the batteries (when lifting off, braking or in B mode) and how much energy you are using while accelerating. You'll also spot a battery charge level indicator in place of a fuel gauge. Range-topping Asphalt models have a head-up display that puts key information, including your speed and the speed limit, in your line of sight on the windscreen.

Being electric, there's no conventional gearstick. Instead, you select forward and reverse gears using a rocker switch on the lower centre of the dash. Above the gear indicator is a button for Park and below it is the B-mode selector for toggling between the regenerative braking modes. Another rocker switch to the left selects the Normal, Power and Eco drive modes.

The rest of the interior is as you’ll find in the regular Peugeot Expert. That means it’s comfortable and well put together, but a little on the small side, and that's a weakness it shares with the virtually identical Vauxhall Vivaro-e. The seating position, for example, is quite low, while taller drivers will struggle with leg room. 

With thin windscreen pillars and a bluff nose, checking that the road is clear at a junction is a doddle, but maneuvering into tight gaps can be a little tricky because the door mirrors are surprisingly small.

Thankfully, help is at hand in the form of standard-fit rear parking sensors on mid-level Professional trim, with range-topping Asphalt trim adding front parking sensors, a rear-view camera and a parking assistance feature. Professional trim also gets automatic headlights and windscreen wipers, which should help increase visibility in poor conditions, while Asphalt gets a wide range of safety features, which we’ll discuss later. 

Entry-level S trim models get DAB radio and Bluetooth, but that’s pretty much your lot when it comes to infotainment. Stepping up to Professional, meanwhile, nets you a 7.0in colour touchscreen with Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone mirroring, with a built-in sat-nav system reserved for Professional models. The system itself is a little laggy at times, but at least there are shortcut buttons for most functions on either side of the screen, and you can also control some functions using buttons and dials on the steering wheel. 

Peugeot e-Expert 2021 interior dashboard

Passenger & boot space

How it copes with people and clutter

Being available in three body lengths opens the Peugeot e-Expert up to a greater number of buyers and marks it out as one of the most versatile electric vans currently on sale. 

The three body lengths – Compact, Standard and Long – are available on the mid-range Professional trim level. If you go for either an entry-level S model or a range-topping Asphalt, you're limited to Standard length, though.

Compact e-Experts are 4600mm long – about the same size as a long-wheelbase small van such as the Renault Kangoo E-tech – with a maximum load area length is 2160mm. The Standard van is 4950mm long, with a 2510mm load length, while the Long version stretches to 5300mm and can transport a 2860mm load. All come with the option of a load-through bulkhead and a folding front passenger seat to increase maximum storage area length by 1160mm. 

Load volumes for the Compact, Standard and Long bodies are 5.1m3, 5.8m3 and 6.6m3 respectively, with an overall height of 1940mm and a useable internal load height of 1397mm. 

Every e-Expert can handle up to 1000kg, whether you choose a compact, standard or long model, and irrespective of trim level. That's actually slightly more than the least powerful diesel Expert can carry, but BlueHDi 120 models can take another 400kg, managing 1469kg in Compact Professional trim, for example. 

Twin sliding doors on both sides of the loadspace come as standard, which is the same as the diesel model. All Peugeot e-Expert models can tow a braked trailer up to 1000kg.

Buying & owning

Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is

Choosing an electric van, whether you pay upfront or lease, will cost significantly more than an equivalent diesel model. On the other hand, you'll enjoy significantly cheaper running costs. 

Whether or not that will work out to your advantage will depend on how you use the van and how you charge it, but as a rule of thumb, the day-to-day running costs of an electric van are about a fifth of those of a diesel van. There are also fewer serviceable parts that need replacing, and the stopping power of the regenerative braking should reduce the rate of brake pad wear. 

Residual values for electric vehicles were something of an unknown quantity, but they appear to have settled down in recent years and are now much more favourable. The good news is that the e-Expert is one of the models that does reasonably well on this front, with it predicted to hold onto significantly more of its value than the premium Mercedes eVito. 

Like its diesel counterpart, the e-Expert offers three trim levels. Entry-level S models are fairly well equipped with air conditioning, cruise control, one-touch electric windows, twin sliding rear doors and a passenger bench seat with under-seat storage.

Mid-level Professional trim adds rear parking sensors, automatic headlights, automatic windscreen wipers, the load-through bulkhead we mentioned earlier and the uprated 7.0in touchscreen infotainment system. 

If it was our money, though, we’d opt for the range-topping Asphalt model as it gets heated electric mirrors, front and rear parking sensors, a reversing camera, a built-in sat-nav system and loads of safety kit, such as blind-spot monitoring, a lane departure warning system, speed-limit recognition and collision alert. 

The e-Expert is one of the few vans on the market capable of rapid charging at up to 100kW. That means you can get from 0% to an 80% charge in just 30 minutes with the small 50kWh battery, or 45 minutes for the larger 75kW battery, and it's the latter that Peugeot expects most buyers to opt for. We would, too, because the extra 60-odd miles of range it offers make the e-Expert one of the most useable electric vans currently on sale. 

All e-Expert’s are backed up by a three-year and 100,000-mile warranty for the vehicle and an eight-year warranty on the batteries.

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About the author

George Barrow is one of the leading van and truck reviewers, and is the UK’s only representative on the prestigious International Van of the Year jury. He has written about vans and commercial vehicles for the past 15 years, and can be found in titles including The Sun and What Van?, alongside What Car?.

Barrow is well regarded in the commercial vehicle industry, securing access to the latest models – and the people who made them – long before other titles.

Peugeot e-Expert 2021 interior infotainment