By on September 7, 2010

It’s no secret that I’m a bit doubtful about the runaway success of the all-electric vehicle. The infrastructure obstacles are just too great. There is one market where plug-ins make sense: Light delivery vehicles. Never cruise too far from the warehouse. Can be charged while van is being loaded. Lots of regenerative braking. Mitsubishi and PSA think the same. They will co-develop a compact commercial electric vehicle for the European market. Production will begin by 2012, says The Nikkei [sub].

The van will be manufactured under the Peugeot and Citroen brands and sold throughout Europe. Target markets are postal firms, freight companies, government agencies, etc. The van should sell for less than €20,000 after government subsidies.

The new electric vehicle won’t take much h design work: The body will be based on PSA existing light commercial vehicles. The van will be built at PSA’s Vigo plant in Spain. Mitsubishi Motors will build an assembly line using technology developed when building other electric vehicles, such as the i-MiEV.

Speaking of which, an i-MiEV will become available this coming October with a French badge.

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8 Comments on “PSA To Make Plug-In Van, Mitsubishi To Deliver The Goods...”

  • avatar

    I had not really thought about it. But your idea makes sense, that light delivery vehicles make ideal candidates for all-electric vehicles.
    Interestingly, in the early days of electric vehicles, people continued to use electric vehicles as light delivery trucks in the cities long after the internal combustion engine took over other vehicles.
    Milk trucks were a good example. Too bad milk trucks are long gone — in both their electric and gasoline versions.

  • avatar

    Hybrids make sense in this application, too. UPS has already deployed them in several U.S. cities, although I see conflicting reports as to whether they’re diesel-electric or diesel-hydraulic.

    • 0 avatar

      UPS and FedEx Express have a a handful of electric & hydraulic hybrids in revenue service.  Given the lifespan (15-20yrs) and duty cycle of a typical package car I believe that a hydraulic hybrid system is better. It thrives in a 0-25-0 setting.

    • 0 avatar
      M 1

      15-20 year lifespan? Not likely. A relative does FedEx deliveries and his vans (typically half-ton Sprinters) are only good for maybe 5 years. They live a very hard life. Granted this isn’t an in-city scenario like we’re discussing here, but I would expect that to be even more unforgiving.

  • avatar

    Having driven postal vehicles for some years a long time ago, I can tell you that delivery vehicles live a hard life by nature of their work and from (some of) the people who drive them. It would seem that the relative simplicity of electric vehicles might work in their favor:  easy “start” on cold mornings, near-instantaneous windshield de-icing (one would think with all that juice available), and no transmission to abuse.

  • avatar

    It’ll face tough competition from the Ford Transit Connect EV.

    • 0 avatar

      It’ll face tough competition from the Ford Transit Connect EV.

      If so, that will be great. I think there is plenty of room in the market for both. It does seem like this light delivery niche is much better for the first electric vehicles of a new generation than the high-end sports car niche Tesla filled.

  • avatar
    M 1

    Was up at Road America for the ALMS race a few weeks back, and a company called e-Star is starting to push their new electric delivery vans pretty hard. Good looking vans, they claim a 100 mile range with a 4-ton capacity.

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