van go(gh): Citroën ë-Dispatch adds a touch of class to commercial EVs.

Can a battery-powered commercial vehicle be a viable alternative to ICE? We put the Citroën ë-Dispatch, the latest market entry to the test.

If your need for a commercial vehicle boils purely down to the lowest price and highest payload, then you’re best advised to move on to another article. 

However, if you’re a business owner who believes in investing in your employees, or perhaps projecting a clean, eco image is important for your brand, then you would do well to find out more about the Citroën ë-Dispatch tested here. 

The Electric Vehicle (EV) movement is gaining momentum and inevitably spilling over into the world of commercial vehicles as well. More to the point, Light Commercial Vehicles, or LCVs as they are referred to, are poised to be a popular option with owners of small businesses as they can be driven with a Class 3 passenger car license. 

what is it? 

The ë-Dispatch is the first Citroën commercial EV to be officially launched in Singapore. This EV panel van is built on the EMP2 multi-energy platform developed by its parent company, Stellantis. In addition to Citroën, other brands in the Stellantis portfolio include Abarth, Alfa Romeo, Chrysler, Dodge, DS, Fiat, Jeep, Lancia, Maserati, Opel (and Vauxhall), and Peugeot, as well as a few others. 

This means that you might eventually find similar versions of this LCV EV with badges such as a Peugeot or Opel, with a few differences in specs and price. 

Where the Citroën ë-Dispatch is concerned, it is 4.96m in length and 1.9m tall, which means that it’ll fit in most HDB multi-storey carparks. It is also rated to carry a payload of 985kg. 

Priced at $79,999 before CVES, the Citroën ë-Dispatch comes with a $30,000 rebate for qualifying for Band A. Only the first $10,000 however, applies to the aforementioned price, while the remaining $20k will be paid equally on the second and third year directly from the LTA to the owner.

Other less complicated details you might want to know about is its range, which the manufacturer claims is good for 339km by WLTP standards. There’s a good chance that this is a realistic range, as our test vehicle covered 304km. After 3 days, and it still indicated a range of 64km to go before it would completely drain its battery. 

There still aren’t that many commercial EVs available in Singapore, and most that we are aware of are only fitted with Type 2 connectors. This means that they can only be charged from AC chargers that offer between 7kW to 40kW charging speeds. 

The Citroën ë-Dispatch has a Type 2 CCS connector that is also able to accept DC charging, which is generally faster than what is possible with AC. Capable of up to 100kW DC, it battery needs just 48 minutes at this rate to be charged to 80 percent. 

If it’s plugged to a 11kW AC wallbox, the Citroën ë-Dispatch can be charged to 100 percent in less than 8 hours.

stuff we like.

Climb into the cabin of the Citroën ë-Dispatch and it is clear that a lot of though has gone into building an ergonomic driving environment. Up front, there are seats for three occupants seated abreast. Their elevated seating position gives a commanding view of the road ahead, which helps in navigation through heavy traffic as well as manoeuvring in tight spaces. 

The door storage bins are huge and can easily accommodate a 2.0-litre bottle on each side with room to spare, for a small backpack perhaps. The quality of plastics in the cabin are harder than what you’ll find in passenger cars, and it’ll hold up better to heavy duty use. 

The Citroën ë-Dispatch has a concession that you don’t see in many LCVs — smartphone connectivity. Available with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, the driver can easily locate multimedia content and navigation directions from the smartphone directly or easily from the 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system. 

There are drive modes; Eco, Normal, and Power to help manage the range and performance of the Citroën ë-Dispatch according to the cargo loads and types of roads its driven on. Eco will help maximise the range, while Power is handy if the van is fully loaded and has to drive up a a slope, for example.

There’s also a B mode that sets recuperates energy more aggressively for when you’re driving down a steep incline for example.

what’s driving it like?

At 2,040kg unladen, like any other EV, the Citroën ë-Dispatch is no lightweight. This however, also means that it feels more stable even at higher speeds, when many unladen ICE-powered LCVs can start to feel a bit wobbly when driven to or around their 70km/h legal speed limits.  

The ë-Dispatch in comparison imparts a more planted feel. The comfortable ride is compounded by the electric drivetrain that is free of vibrations, noise and fumes. Altogether, this makes for a less taxing drive, which in turn allows for drivers to better focus on their tasks throughout the day. 

Perhaps, this is also in keeping with Citroën’s roots of famously building some of the most comfortable cars ever made. It’s first model, the 2CV was essentially a commercial vehicle where its claim to fame was being able to be driven across a plough field without breaking a basket of eggs in its front passenger seat…

it could also be better. 

As just about every new passenger car today comes with keyless operation, having to go back to the ignominy of fishing the key from the pocket to unlock and start the vehicle came as something of a culture shock… Like living in a time before we all had smartphones, we can’t imagine how we could do without keyless ignition. 

On a practical front, being able to lock, unlock and start the vehicle all while the key remains in the driver’s pocket can help significantly. If a route requires frequent stops and deliveries, being able to quickly get in and out — usually with hands full — and drive off can make a big difference in productivity. On this front, features such as walk-away auto locking would be good to have. 

Although we noticed that this vehicle was approved to carry 6 pax in the cargo hold, the sealed bulkhead from the front cabin means that anyone riding in the back would have little to no ventilation or air-conditioning. Combine this with sealed panels and it becomes a bad idea to ride back there for any meaningful distance. 

Fortunately, the Citroën ë-Dispatch can be customized to suit various applications that come with extra costs. We were told that it could be converted to a small private bus for example, for around $10k extra. 

is it worth the punt?

The useable range and load capacity the Citroën ë-Dispatch offers makes this EV a viable LCV option. While the $30k rebate and lower fuelling costs mean that it may make fiscal sense for some businesses, the more comfortable working environment and electric vehicle offers might also make your operation a more attractive place to apply for. 

technical specifications.

Citroën ë-Dispatch

Engine: Electric drive, 1 electric motor

Power: 100kW (134hp) maximum system output

Torque: 260Nm

0-100km/h: 11.9 seconds (claimed)

Top speed: 132km/h (claimed)

Battery: 75kWh Lithium-ion 

Charging: 100kW DC, 48 min 0-80%, 11kW AC >8 hours 0-100%

Range: 339km (WLTP)

CEVS: A ($10,000 rebate inclusive in the price, $10k annual rebate for Year 2 and 3)

Base Price: $79,999 with COE

Contact: Cycle & Carriage

Looking for a regular EV instead? Check out more on the latest EVs here!

sheldon trollope

Sheldon has a complicated relationship with EVs. He likes driving them, but also thinks diversity in powertrain technology is the best way forward. Oh, and he also enjoys piña coladas and getting caught in the rain.

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