If there was a segment we haven’t seen much of electric cars in, it would be the MPV/van body-type. Last year, we saw the Mercedes-Benz EQV which was a luxury MPV which had a 100 kWh battery with about 400 km of range.
Announced in 2018, the long-term partnership between Toyota and the PSA Group in Europe has now brought to the market 5 new MPVs/vans:
Opel Zafira-e Life
Toyota Proace Electric
They’re all the same thing, with two battery options: 50 kWh (230 km range) and 75 kWh (330 km range). The range provided by both batteries are not that much. One would think a big vehicle like an MPV/van would be able to fit at least 100 kWh batteries. The Proace and Vivaro-e seem to be only available in panel van variants.
We believe these MPVs/vans are meant for intracity travels for commercial use (postal services, hotel services, short-distance deliveries. What’s highlighted in the official releases of these cars is the 1.90 m height which enables underground parking.
Although more oriented towards European commercial use, the Citroen, Peugeot, and Vauxhall version of the vehicle suggest a more family-oriented use. But even so, 330 km of range does seem a bit too little for fun long-distance journeys with the family.
With a maximum power output of 138 PS and maximum torque of 260 Nm, the electric powertrain of the 2,900 kg van can accelerate 0-100 km/h in 13.1 s and 80-120 km/h in 12.1 s. Should be good enough for standard overtaking manoeuvres.
What about charging?
Pictures of the Opel Zafira-e Life show a Type 2 charger for AC charging and a CCS2 charger for DC fast charging. From the specs, it seems like they are capable of 100 kW DC fast charging. Perhaps the Toyota Proace would use the Type1 AC Charger and CHAdeMO DC charger?
This means that when hooked up with a 100 kW DC charger, the 75 kWh battery is fully charged in about 45 minutes. Two options for the AC on-board charger (OBC) are available depending on the infrastructure – single phase 7.4 kW and triple phase 11 kW.
Of course, neither version of this electric MPV/van will be available in Malaysia, but it is a rather significant step forward for vehicle electrification. With large manufacturers such as Toyota and PSA Group banding together to produce these electric MPVs/vans, electric transportation is becoming normalised and more accessible.