Peugeot-Citroen join the charge with electric vans


Strange as it may sound, commercial vehicles often make ideal candidates for a shiny new electric powertrain.

Perhaps with daily run-outs of around 60-70 miles, they're perfectly suited to nightly charges before their daily duties.

At the moment, the only option in this area is the Renault Kangoo ZE, but with Peugeot and Citroen keen to get in on the action that's all about to change.

Two near-identical vans – the 'Partner Electric' (pictured) and 'Electric Berlingo' – are based on Peugeot and Citroen's shared van range, distinguishable from their diesel-powered counterparts only by a charging point on the front wing.

With both normal and fast-charging options available – the latter achieving 80 per cent charge in only 30 minutes – and the companies touting ranges of 105 miles, the pair should have no problems keeping up with their Franco-Japanese arch rival.

Neither company has given many details on performance, but both should arrive with 67bhp and an impressive 200Nm of torque on tap.

This isn't the first time Peugeot-Citroen have got busy with the batteries, though – back in 1998 they were experimenting with an electrified version of the previous model Berlingo.

Called the 'Berlingo Electrique' - a snappier name we feel – it used now rather old-hat NiCad batteries and managed a 60 mile range. France's national mail service – La Poste – even used a few.

Prices have yet to be announced, but Peugeot-Citroen estimate a launch date of summer 2013, with more details heading our way at the upcoming Hanover motor show. Until then, eco-friendly postmen had better get comfy with the Kangoo.