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Car reviews - Peugeot - e-Partner


We like
Functional appearance, work oriented cabin, compact dimensions, full size spare, possibility of relatively quick recharge, tight turning circle, extensive safety features, comfortable seats, easy access
Room for improvement
Would struggle with full 750kg payload, price is up there for small van, real world range is limited, front-wheel drive traction has limitations, menu screen a distraction, rear-view mirror is practically useless

EV light commercial van a first for Peugeot in Oz, but will Aussie buyers warm to it?

18 Jul 2023



YOU can buy a long wheelbase Peugeot Partner petrol light van for as little as $38,388 plus on-road costs – and a short wheelbase model for even less… Or, for around $22,000 more, you can by a battery electric long wheelbase e-Partner, which we think is a tough ask, right from the get-go.


The difference would buy a whole lot of petrol – and the price disparity between ICE and ‘e’ powered vans would be a key consideration for most potential buyers; especially in the current constrained economic environment – and especially in this user space which is primarily comprised of small business owners or sole traders.


But climate change will not go away, and more businesses and private buyers are making the choice to go down the electric path to assuage their concerns.


The e-Partner is Peugeot Australia’s first foray into a fully electric vehicle with more, including passenger models, scheduled for introduction before the end of the year. It is one of only two light-segment vans powered purely by electricity available here, with the other being Renault’s ZE Kangoo LWB that sells from $50,390 plus on-road costs.


Others will no doubt follow, such as an e-Berlingo from Citroen.


The e-Partner is available now for August delivery at Peugeot dealers or tellingly, online which highlights Peugeot’s thinking going forward.


The Partner van has been around for a long time, earning brownie points for its relative simplicity and reliable, economical service. It is popular with a certain clientele mainly city-based businesses which do not want or need a larger van or open tray one-tonne ute.


The e-Partner Pro Long Auto, as the model is known, might be a good fit as it is powered by a 50kWh lithium-ion battery driving the front axle through an electric traction motor with up to 100kW of power and 260Nm of torque producing a claimed WLTP test range of 258km.


Three drive modes are available through a selector switch in the centre console: Eco (60kW/190Nm), Normal (80kW/210Nm) and Power (100kW/260Nm).


It rides on Peugeot’s EMP-2 modular multi-energy-platform shared with other Peugeot models and has the battery under the floor. This layout doesn’t impinge on load or passenger space both of which are the same for the ICE and ‘e’ Partner variants.


Critical measurements are a 3.9-cubic metre load volume while the length, width and height measurements are 4500mm x 2100mm x 1900mm respectively, and the model boasts an 11.4m turning circle.


Dual rear barn doors combine with side sliders affording easy access to the load space while the two front doors are tall and open wide again facilitating access. Peugeot has fit six tie-down rings to the e-Partner floor to help secure a potential payload of 753kg.


The e-Partner has an extensive suite of safety equipment including driver assist features such as the pedestrian warning system the operates from 30m with an audible signal to indicate the presence of the vehicle in forward and reverse gear.


It also has a 180-degree colour reversing camera, front and rear parking sensors, six airbags, anti-lock braking system, electronic braking distribution, emergency braking assistance, electronic stability program, active lane keep assist, autonomous emergency braking, lane departure warning, and forward collision warning.


This is in addition to one-touch electric windows with pinch protection, two cup holders, USB socket for media playback, a 12-volt socket, two seat capacity – with separate individually sliding driver and front passenger seats, an 8.0-inch capacitive central touchscreen, Bluetooth connectivity with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, voice recognition, and FM/DAB radio through a four-speaker sound system.


Driving Impressions


The 2023 Peugeot e-Partner Pro Long Auto feels a bit like a passenger car to drive, almost silent with well damped and sprung suspension even across rough roads – and the squarish styling looks good, too. Certainly, better than earlier models.


The steering is responsive and displays a suitably small turning circle that is ideal for tight city driving conditions. Strong braking is a feature with a regen’ function aiding general driving.


Access is easy through the large front doors though the side sliders and rear barn doors are somewhat small.


The load space does not have a rubber mat to stop cargo sliding around. You will have to strap it down to achieve that, or option a rubber mat yourself. There are lots of utilitarian hard plastics used throughout the cabin, and a cloth material on the seats that is comfortable and should be well wearing.


Controls facing the driver are simple with only some difficulty drilling down to find certain functions within the multi-function control screen. Read outs are clear and easy to understand.


The audio is good for such a vehicle and the storage compartments dotted throughout the cabin are handy especially the overhead bins and centre tray.


Appreciated is the metal cargo bulkhead that is concave (from the cabin) and positioned far enough back to allow tall drivers adequate seat fore/aft movement. A small fat steering wheel comes with a number of controls.


The cabin is a two-seater only as the middle is occupied by various gear selectors and other switches to select drive mode and other stuff. Visibility to the front is good due to the large windscreen and side windows but, being a blind van, has limitations to the rear which can only be partially seen via the side mirrors and when reversing, through the touchscreen.


Load height is low, but we would like to see a forklift driver put a pallet in the back. It is do-able we reckon.


Performance is OK in Power mode, but the e-Partner struggles elsewhere. It really lacks the instantaneous punch normally associated with a BEV.


And you will pay the ‘range price’ for keeping the e-Partner on the boil… On test, we sampled the model with 200kg of ballast on board, plus the driver, and found performance to be lacking when climbing hills.


The Spanish made e-Partner feels well-built and tight on rough roads but the headlining where the bulkhead touches looks to have been roughly cut away with no finisher on the edge.


Annoying active lane keeping ‘assist’ rears its ugly head at inopportune times such as when you are trying to avoid a pothole or cyclist.


On the upside is the Pug van’s full-size spare wheel, something that should be mandatory on every vehicle sold in Australia in my opinion… Connecting all your electronic stuff to the e-Partner’s systems is relatively easy and it should be quick to recharge given the right appliance.


Pay the $22k extra to salve your conscience, treat it like a mobile phone and recharge at every opportunity and you may be a happy camper unless you have a call out or a delivery to the bush… then, a traditionally powered Partner might be a better fit for the task.

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