The Toyota Proace City Electric, offers van operators a small electric van, with a cargo area of up to 3.3 cubic metres & a useful battery electric range of 161 miles. Like the larger Proace Electric, the City Electric is built in conjunction with the Stellantis small electric vans from Citroen, Peugeot & Vauxhall & gives Toyota another string to it’s bow in the electric van marketplace. We drove one recently & here’s what we thought.Model range
SWB & LWB panel van versions are offered. The shorter wheelbase models have an 800kg payload, while long-wheelbase models have a 750kg payload, but come with a larger loading area. Both versions feature the same 50kWh battery, which offers a WLTP range of 168 miles.
In SWB or LWB versions, the City is offered only in Icon. Fear not, Icon offers the van driver plenty of standard equipment, including two sliding side doors, a reversing camera, smartphone integration for Apple CarPlay & Android Auto, front parking sensors, a reversing camera, DAB, two USB’s, air-con & cruise control.
Performance & charging
The 50kWh battery uses a 100kW electric motor, putting out the equivalent of 136bhp. This is good enough for a top speed of 80 mph, but it’s the instant torque that’s most impressive, making forward progress smooth, as well as silent.
Fast charging is included as standard. This means that the City Electric can top up it’s battery from 0-80% using a 100kW rapid charger, in just 30 minutes. This of course is quite expensive so most of your charging will take place at home, where using a 7kW charger, like our own Rolec Smart Charger, charging the 50kWh battery from 0-100% will take 7.5 hours. Toyota also offers the option to upgrade from 7kW Type 2 charging capability to 11kW, so a home charge can take as little as 4.5 hours.
Electric vans are expensive, so how can I make the most savings charging my ?
By now, we will all know about increasing energy prices, so a lot of potential electric van customers may be thinking that taking the electric plunge now, may not be right for them. It’s true, electric vans come with a higher initial purchase price. What Company Car & Van can say, is that there are ways to ensure that your electric van saves you as much money as possible, so here are a few tips.
Charge your City Electric at home where prices are cheapest. Switch your electric supplier & tariff to one that offers cheaper overnight electricity prices, such as Octopus Go. For example, using the EV Energy App, who partner Rolec, you can set your charger to only charge at off-peak times & can even set a price per kWh limit.
Peugeot, Vauxhall & Citroen offer their own versions of the City Electric. Later in 2022 Renault’s new Kangoo E-Tech, Mercedes-Benz eCitan & Nissans electric Townstar will arrive & of course there’s our reigning Small Electric Van of the Year, the Maxus eDeliver 3.
We were testing the Proace City Electric Icon L1 50kW model. The electric City looks just like the diesel model, with just a slight nod to it’s electric roots, namely an ELECTRIC logos on the rear door & front nearside.
The interior has a car-like feel to it, with the dashboard dominated by the colour touchscreen. It’s also finished in nicely textured plastics, with the grey seat fabric looking & feeling hard wearing.
I had a good look around my test van before I took it out & it featured the Toyota Smart Cargo bulkhead with a hatch, allowing a longer load length to fit into the cargo area & into the front rear left passenger footwell. After Storms D & E, I needed to repair a fence so required two 3m lengths of wood. I was able to slide these over the front passenger seat into the perfectly placed dashboard gap, managing to just close the rear doors, perfect !
There’s also under passenger seat storage, large enough to store a small bag, two decent sized door pockets, storage between the front seats, twin drinks holder’s on the dash top & space lower down for odds & ends. The only negative is that the centre-front seat doesn’t offer much legroom. And the twin sliding side doors & 180° opening rear doors make getting in & out of the van easy.
What’s really appealing about City Electric is that it drives like a small electric family car. Steering is light & the auto gear box located just to the left of the driver is easy to operate. Here you can select from Park, Reverse, Neutral or Drive with another setting ‘B’ that adds two levels of regenerative braking to the equation. There also three drive modes; Eco, which slows everything down & turns of the heating, Normal, in which we drove all week & Power, useful if your van is heavily laden.
In Power mode, you get the vans full 134bhp & the most fun, with quick acceleration from a standing start. The downside is that it reduces the vans range considerably. The 108bhp you get wit Normal mode is the level we used, primarily because it was cold. This gives you a good amount of throttle response. Selecting ‘B’ mode in the gear selector, puts some energy back into the battery when coasting. It’s not really noticeable & certainly doesn’t offer anything strong enough to allow for single-pedal driving.
On the motorway, the City Electric drives nicely. The cabin is quiet thanks in part to the full steel bulkhead & the seats offer a firm & supportive ride. The drivers view of the road is good & all of the vans switches & buttons fall easily to hand. The Icon is fitted as standard with cruise control, which allows you to select your motorway speed, which in turn aids battery range. The City Electric also does a good job of masking the battery weight under the floor plan, making it a fun small van to drive, especially in town.
Once I had charged the City Electric fully at home on my Rolec charger, https://www.rolecserv.com/home-charging, the total battery range showing was 161 miles in Eco & 151 miles in Normal. Some local journeys saw us achieve the holy grail of a 1:1 ratio of distance travelled to range used. As with all EV’s though, the range isn’t as great when you drive over 65 mph. & in low temperatures. We took a 50 mile motorway spin in February, with outside temperatures of just 3 degrees celsius. Travelling at a constant 65mph, we used up 68 miles of range.
Excellent payload, great to drive, top-notch cabin, on trend tech & if driven carefully, expect a range of 130 miles. As with the firm’s passenger cars, the Proace City Electric is covered by Toyota’s 10-year service warranty, which should bring added peace of mind to business users tempted to make the switch to electric. It’s worth noting, that the Stellantis competitors are not this generous with their warranties.
The Proace City Electric Icon, comes supplied with a higher spec than the Stellantis versions, which makes is a little more expensive. Like all EV’s, be aware that very cold weather & a heavy right foot, will affect your EV’s range.
If you drive the length & breadth of the UK, any electric van is not going to be for you. The range is too small & at motorway speeds, the battery drains far faster. However, if your van use is local, even regional, then a van such as the Proace City Electric could be a solution. An electric van is plainly cleaner, you don’t need to pay vehicle excise duty & EV’s are currently congestion charge exempt. And, we haven’t even mentioned the fuel savings you’ll achieve in an electric van, which will typically cut your monthly expenditure over diesel by 75%.
Furthermore, the Proace City Electric offers a competitive payload, comes complete with the latest tech & safety features & offers the the reassurance of Toyota’s 10-year service warranty.
Interior length (mm) 3090 mm
Interior width (mm)1229 mm
Interior height (mm)1200 mm
Deck length (mm)1817 mm
Deck width (mm)1527 mm
Deck height (mm)1200 mm
Load volume with Smart Cargo (2 seats, m³)3.8 m³
Loading length with Smart Cargo (2 seats, mm)3090 mm
Load volume (m³) 3.3 m³