Electric Vivaro-e can tow a one-tonne trailer

Vauxhall Vivaro-e

ELECTRIC vans have come a long way from the milk floats that used to punctuate the dawn chorus with the gentle chirp of foil-topped glass pint bottles clinking against each other, writes William Scholes.

Latest to the fray is the battery version of Vauxhall's Vivaro.

Vauxhall says its Vivaro-e is the first fully-electric 'LCV'-sized van that is capable of towing a trailer and that compared to an internal combustion-engined stablemates there is no compromise in its performance, payload or load volume.

It is offered with a 100kW - equivalent to 134bhp - motor with 192lb.ft of torque, hooked up to either a 50kWh or 75kWh battery.

The smaller battery offers a range of up to 144 miles; opt for the larger one to see that climb to 205 miles.

However, expect those figures to suffer when if the van is loaded up with its 1,226kg maximum payload or pulling a one-tonne trailer.

Vauxhall reckons that the daily weekday mileage for vans of this sort is a strangely precise-sounding 76 miles, so perhaps load-affected range fluctuations won't trouble most would-be operators.

Access to reliable charging infrastructure is also critical if electric vans are to gain in popularity.

Vauxhall says 100kW charging capability is available as standard enabling rapid charging of the 50kW battery from zero to 80 per cent in 32 minutes and the larger battery in just 48 minutes.

The on-board charger is 7.4kW with three-phase 11kW available as an option.

The Vivaro-e is sold in two trim levels, Dynamic and Elite, two lengths and panel van and double-cab van bodies.

The Vivaro-e can be ordered now and Vauxhall expects to deliver the first examples to customers from October. The cheapest model is £27,723 excluding VAT and after the government's plug-in van grant has been applied - this pays for 20 per cent of a van's purchase price, up to maximum of £8,000.

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