Vauxhall Vivaro-e Elite 3100 75kWh
Winner of the GreenFleet 2021 LCV Manufacturer of the Year award, Vauxhall has completed its family of electric light commercial vehicles. Based on the popular Vivaro, Richard Gooding finds out how the zero-emission Vivaro-e stacks up
What is it?
The Vivaro has been a staple of Vauxhall’s light commercial vehicle family for over 20 years, and has sold over one million examples. Vauxhall is now owned by the vast Stellantis group, and the third generation of the British best-seller was introduced in 2019, based on the same EMP2 underpinnings as the Citroën Dispatch and Peugeot Expert, which combines modular passenger car and commercial vehicle chassis. Leveraging shared technologies, the electric Vivaro was introduced in 2020, employing a 100kW motor with a choice of either 50 or 75kWh batteries.
Vauxhall’s e-LCV family is the number one-selling electric light commercial range in the UK, the Vivaro-e securing big fleet orders from the likes of BT Openreach, British Gas, Mitie and Riverford Organics. The Vivaro-e was named ‘International Van of the Year’ in 2021, along with its other Stellantis stablemates.
How practical is it?
Three versions of the emission-free Vivaro-e are available, two panel vans, one crew van (the doublecab) and a platform cab. There is only one roof height, but two lengths that share the same 3,275mm wheelbase: the 4,959mm ‘L1’ and the 5,309mm ‘L2’. Height is 1,905mm, and width is 2,204mm, including door mirrors.
As the batteries are mounted under the floor, the electric Vivaros share the same cargo space as their diesel-engined relatives. L1 models can carry up to 5.3m3 or volume, the longer L2 versions able to hold 6.1m3. If the FlexCargo load-through bulkhead is fitted – standard on high-spec Elite models – those volumes increase to 5.8m3 and 6.6m3 respectively. Payloads range from 987kg for the doublecab, to 1,226kg for the 50kWh entry level Vivaro-e, topping out at 1,392kg for the L2-based platform cab with the same battery.
All panel vans have a maximum load height of 1,397mm, a maximum width of 1,636mm, and a maximum distance between the wheel arches of 1,258mm. Twin sliding side doors are standard, and a pair of rear doors open to 90 and 180 degrees. Fixed floor-mounted load restraint lashing eyes are provided, too; six on L1 models, and eight on L2 versions.
What range does it have?
Operators who choose the Vivaro-e have a choice of either 50kWh or 75kWh batteries. For the 50kWh version, Vauxhall quotes a single charge, WLTP test cycle distance of up to 133 miles. This increases to a distance of up to 196 miles for the 75kWh model, depending on the model chosen.
How long does it take to charge?
All electric Vivaros support 100kW DC charging. A fast charger will refill the 50kWh battery from 15 to 80 per cent capacity in 30 minutes, the larger capacity battery taking another 15 minutes. A single-phase 7.4kW on-board charger is standard, but operators can opt for an optional three-phase 11kW unit. On a 7kW AC connection or wallbox, a full recharge takes around 11 hours.
How does it drive?
Externally, only the ‘Vivaro-e’ badge on the nearside back door and the charging flap on the nearside front wing give the electric game away. Otherwise, it’s business as usual for the mid-sized Vauxhall LCV. And that’s no bad thing. Sharing its basic outline with its Stellantis relatives, as vans go the Vivaro-e is handsome, with contoured wheel arches, a lower grille ‘smile’, and embossed tail lights. Elite-spec models gain colour-coded bumpers, too, which adds to the smart look.
Inside, the relationship to its siblings is a little more obvious, but again, a proven design and components mean there’s little to gripe about. The seven-inch colour touchscreen is clear and works well. Steering wheel buttons for volume and phone functions bring car-like comfort, and physical controls for the air conditioning mean no prodding into touchscreen menus. Cabin storage is generous, with drink cubbies on top of the dashboard, while in-dash slots can hold additional odds and ends. A large, lidded compartment on the dash top is a very useful space.
All versions of the Vivaro-e are powered by a 100kW electric motor, and the electric Vauxhall LCV isn’t found wanting for pace. With 192lb ft/260Nm of torque – noticeably more than the Volkswagen e-Transporter 6.1 – the Vivaro-e feels plenty fast enough for dicing with inner-city traffic. Light and crisp steering allows the van to be placed easily on the road, and at higher speeds, refinement is as good as it is at lower ones, the hushed cruising made possible by the removal of a diesel engine.
A choice of three modes allow for a tailored driving experience. ‘Eco’ limits power to 78bhp for maximum range and efficiency, deactivating any unnecessary energy-consuming features, and reducing the 81mph top speed, torque and overall performance. ‘Normal’ mode offers 104bhp for a compromise between efficiency and performance, while ‘Power’ gives the full 134bhp. An additional regenerative braking ‘B’ mode for the gear selector increases braking resistance and puts more energy back into the battery, even when the van is coasting after the accelerator has been released.
What does it cost?
The UK government’s Plug-in Van Grant (PiVG) will contribute 35 per cent of the purchase price on all electric Vivaros, up to a maximum of £5,000. The Vivaro-e range starts at £32,228.33 ‘on-the-road’ excluding VAT with the PiVG deducted for the entry level Dyanmic panel van.
Standard equipment includes automatic lights and wipers, cruise control with speed limiter, front fog lamps, a seven-inch colour touchscreen, and 16-inch steel wheels. To aid practicality, rear parking sensors, as well as nearside and offside sliding side-access doors are fitted.
The £38,403.33 Vivaro Elite (as tested here) looks smarter with its 17-inch alloy wheels, body coloured bumpers and LED daytime running lights, and also adds an alarm, electrically folding door mirrors, a FlexCargo load-through bulkhead, front and rear parking sensors, a navigation system, as well as a six-way adjustable driver’s seat with lumbar adjustment and armrest.
In addition, crew double-cab versions include three individual rear seats, a full-height ABS plastic bulkhead with window and front passenger curtain and side-impact airbags. Prices for the crew cab Vivaro-e begin at £42,078.33.
Why does my fleet need one?
The electric Vivaro-e’s car-derived underpinnings gives it a level of driving comfort and usability which will suit fleets and those looking for maneuverability, refinement and a general ease of operation. The fact that the battery doesn’t impede the cargo volume is another bonus.
Suiting the recently enlarged London Ultra Low Emission Zone and other imminent Clean Air Zones, the Vivaro-e keeps downtime to a minimum with its fast-charging capability, while an eight-year/100,000-mile warranty on battery and electric powertrain components should give operators added peace of mind.
VAUXHALL VIVARO-E ELITE 3100 75KWH
GROSS PAYLOAD: 987kg
LOAD VOLUME: 4.0m3
ENGINE: 134bhp/100kW synchronous electric motor/75kWh lithium-ion battery pack
RANGE (WLTP): 205 miles
PRICE (OTR, ex VAT, inc PiVG): £38,403.33