You'd be surprised just how many options there are for a family seeking full-electric power in a really large MPV. Here's Peugeot's take on this concept, the e-Traveller. In 50kWh form, it won't go particularly far on a single charge, but it'll seat up to eight, help you move house or function as an executive minibus. All without using a drop of fuel.
Peugeot is building up a useful portfolio of full-EV models, already offering battery-powered vans and, in addition, for car customers, BEV versions of the 208, the 2008 and the Rifter. Here's the marque's biggest EV, the e-Traveller. Like the combustion-engined Traveller models, this one's based on Peugeot's Expert van and it goes up against two identically-engineered design stablemates, the Vauxhall e-Vivaro Life and the Citroen e-Space Tourer. Neither of this trio can approach the driving range of the segment leader, the V-Class-based Mercedes EQV, but this Peugeot costs a lot less than that Stuttgart model and offers a useful choice of body styles. Both these things might be of interest to a suburban family customer not especially concerned about extended driving range. Let's check this green-minded MPV out.
There's not too much to get your head around in driving this big battery-powered Peugeot MPV. You turn the key in the ignition, wait for the starting beep, then flick the gear toggle into Drive. There's a drive-mode selector that allows drivers to switch between ECO, NORMAL and POWER modes. There's 136hp on tap and there's also a 'B' option that ploughs extra energy back into the battery, offering more resistance while you're slowing down. Top speed is just 84mph. Big People Carriers are largely used for suburban duties, which is just as well because this car's not much good for anything else. A huge heavy People Carrier relying on a battery designed to sustain an electric supermini was never going to travel very far between charges and, sure enough, this e-Traveller's 50kWh battery pack takes this Peugeot only 143 miles between charges. So you're going to need to think hard if you're going anywhere more than 60 miles or so away, unless you've the time for a potentially lengthy recharging stop before your return journey. This is annoying because the electric version of this car's LCV counterpart, the Expert van, has the option of a larger 75kWh battery that would add around 60 miles of additional range. At the time of this test in Spring 2021, that wasn't being offered on the e-Traveller.
A key advantage that this e-Traveller model enjoys over its identically-engineered Citroen e-SpaceTourer and Vauxhall e-Vivaro Life MPV People Carrying design stablemates is the fact that this Peugeot offers customers a choice of body lengths. That means either a 4.95-metre 'Standard' version or a bigger 5.30-metre 'Long' variant: go large, we say. Size matters - with an MPV particularly so. Apart from the badge work and the charging flap, it'll be difficult for your neighbours to spot that you've switched your big MPV to full-electric power. This big Peugeot is clearly van-derived, but the looks are modern and not too LCV-like. At the wheel, there's a driver selector toggle where the gear lever would normally be and you get a power flow gauge instead of a rev counter in the instrument binnacle. Inside, you get an eight-seater 2-3-3 layout (there's no 9-seat option like there is on the alternative Citroen version of this model) and you're going to need to slide the rear two rows about to facilitate legroom if a full complement of adults are aboard. The battery installation hasn't compromised passenger or cargo space in any way. All the rear seats can be removed to reveal a van-like cargo area, but they're heavy and awkward to lift and you'd need a big garage to store them in.
The e-Traveller is available in 'Active' and 'Allure' trim levels, with prices starting at around £49,000 for 'Active'-spec or around £53,500 for plusher 'Allure' spec. Go gfor 'Allure' and there's a premium of £840 to move from the 'Standard' to the 'Long' body shape. 'Active' models feature 17-inch wheels, Rear Parking Sensors, Cruise Control and Twin Sliding Rear Doors as standard. Inside, a seven-inch capacitive colour touchscreen integrates the Mirror Screen function enabling compatible Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone applications. Users also have access to DAB radio with Bluetooth and there's also a colour instrument display, climate control and the usual executive niceties. All versions offer plenty of modularity and flexibility, with the second and third row seats fully adjustable and removable. Plusher 'Allure' trim adds front and rear parking sensors with a 180-degree rear camera, 'Peugeot Open and Go' keyless entry and start, Xenon headlights, electric sliding doors, Peugeot Connected 3D Navigation and a Head Up Display. Electronic driving assistance devices include a 'driving time warning system', 'Driver Attention Alert', a 'Road sign reading with speed limit recommendation system' and an 'Active Safety Brake' set-up. You could also add 'Blind Spot Monitoring' and a 'VisioPark surround view camera system - both useful on a vehicle of this size.
Because the e-Traveller supports up to 100kW rapid charging technology, an 80 per cent charge will take just 30 minutes. This EV People Carrier also features a 7kW on-board charger as standard. A full charge from a 7.4kW domestic Wallbox takes 7 hours 30 minutes. With the alternative 11kW wallbox, you can reduce that to four and three-quarter hours. For peace of mind, the lithium-ion battery pack in this model comes with an eight year/100,000 mile warranty, for up to 70% of the initial battery capacity. To get close to the quoted 143 mile range figure, you'll need to engage 'Eco' mode frequently - which reduces power output to 80hp. Owners can set up deferred charging or to pre-condition the vehicle via a MyPeugeot mobile app on their smartphone. To enhance the ownership experience of this Peugeot, the brand has partnered with POLAR, the UK's largest public charging station provider, to give customers a free six-month subscription to POLAR Plus. This brings with it the convenience of having access to more than 7,000 public charging stations across the UK.
We can see why plenty of families might like an e-Traveller - and it holds a useful advantage over its Citroen e-Space Tourer design stablemate thanks to the two-way choice of body lengths that Peugeot's offering in the UK. We like the way that the battery powertrain has been built into this People Carrier without any compromise to interior space. It's quiet and well built, looks contemporary and is well equipped. The elephant in the room though, is the 143 mile driving range, which for quite a few families and business folk, simply won't be enough for a vehicle of this type. Hopefully, a version with Peugeot's larger 75kWh battery will be along shortly. If you can live with the range though - as some city based families and business users might be able to - there's potentially a lot to like here, though if you wanted the lengthiest 'Long' body shape, it's less easy to see why you'd choose the Peugeot version of this design, rather than the near-identical Vauxhall e-Vivaro Life model. If the range and the deal is right for you though, this big French MPV could be worth considering.