Advertorial from Citroën

Perfect electric family transport with Citroën ë-Berlingo

Last year we joined forces with Citroën to introduce electric vans to support vendors. Now, motoring journalist Vicky Parrot finds out if the ë-Berlingo can cut it as a family car.

Big Issue Citroën ë-Berlingo test drive with motoring Journalist Vicky Parrott Fordingbridge, Hampshire

Advertorial from Citroën

A road test or review of the Citroën ë-Berlingo would be a useful way to learn about how the car drives, the official figures and much more. Living with one is a whole other question: are my groceries going to roll around wildly on the way back from doing ‘A Big Shop’, and where did that can of beans go? Can I wipe the upholstery clean of the pressed in chocolate and crisp crumbs that will – against all laws of physics – gather underneath the kids’ car seats? How easy is it to get grumpy children in and out of said car seats?

Living with the Citroën ë-Berlingo: a day-to-day experience

I set out to answer all of these routine life questions and many more when I lived with the boxy-yet-cute, all electric Citroën ë-Berlingo; something that we were able to do courtesy of Big Issue’s partnership with Citroën, which is working on an ongoing basis to roll out electric vans onto Big Issue’s fleet of delivery and frontline outreach vehicles. But using a van for commercial van purposes is one thing. What of a van for family motoring?

From commercial use to family motoring

That’s right, I called it a van, and I do so with no shame. In fact, I do so with real delight as I absolutely love a van. They have high, comfy driving positions, masses of glass area for great visibility, and vast boots that will better any SUV or estate for roominess and practicality. After all, a cuboid shape will always be the most efficient use of space – just ask a mathematician.

Vicky’s vehicle:

CITROËN Ë-BERLINGO ELECTRIC M 50KWH

Price from: £32,315 / £399pm

Powertrain: 136bhp electric motor, front-wheel drive, auto

0-62mph: 11.5secs

Battery: 50kWh lithium-ion

Range: Up to 177 miles WLTP (174 on the version tested)

 3 THINGS THAT WE LOVED

1 Sliding doors: a game-changer for access

2 Vast boot: Bikes, industrial equipment… You name it, it fitted

3 Compact size: Bigger inside than most huge SUVs, yet small and wieldy on the road

Perfect family transport

It’s also worth pointing out that the ë-Berlingo uses the same platform and running gear as Citroën’s passenger vehicles so, despite its van-ish roots, it drives like a car. Quiet, comfy and relaxing. Perfect family transport. Let’s not forget the ë-Berlingo’s sliding doors, too.

Versatility, practicality and camping adventures

The next big challenge was a trip to work with my husband, who is an industrial painter and routinely goes around laden down with ladders, spray guns, and many chunky, mysterious boxes that I assume hold very important tools…

Charging and range: living with the electric Citroën ë-Berlingo

As for the range in between charges? We routinely got 3.0m/kWh (which is mpg for electric cars) from the Citroën – good for 120 to 140-ish miles to a charge in wintry conditions, or less in cold weather if you’re on the motorway. Spring eventually sprang towards the end of my time with the ë-Berlingo, which saw more clement weather and a real-world range of 160 miles or more.

The pet-friendly electric vehicle

The rest of the time, it’s trips to the shops, afterschool clubs and walks with the dog – who absolutely loves the ë-Berlingo. The load lip is so low that she can jump in and out really easily despite being slightly arthritic, and she has space to lie down and stand up comfortably despite her being a big, leggy 32kg dog.

Overall, having lived with the ë-Berlingo, there’s no doubt that a family car doesn’t get more practical. The end. On a daily basis there was something – whether it was the better access, bigger boot, greater storage space, better visibility or otherwise – that made it clear just how much more convenient the ë-Berlingo is than any ‘normal’ hatchback. The only difficulty now is how we live without it.

A beginners guide to rapid charging

Rapid charging an electric car can be nerve-wracking for the uninitiated, but there are now rapid chargers along every major route in the UK, so here’s what you need to know:
You don’t need to provide a cable to rapid charge; all rapid chargers have the cable attached to the charging station.

Big Issue Citroën ë-Berlingo test drive with motoring Journalist Vicky Parrott Fordingbridge, Hampshire ©Exposure Photo Agency


► Almost every new electric car in Europe and the UK uses the same rapid charging socket – called a CCS socket – and are compatible with the vast majority of rapid chargers that you find in services and EV charging hubs.

► Payment is, by law, now by ‘tap-and-go’ card payment on public chargers, so you don’t need to register or use a phone app.

► EVs will show you where public chargers are on their nav map – as the Citroën will – or you can use one of the third-party phone apps or even the map apps on your phone, so finding chargers is easier than ever.


► Stopping for short, 10-15 minute top ups every 90 minutes or so is a great, hassle free way to travel long distances in an EV, especially as every electric car will charge more slowly when it gets to 80% charge and above, so more frequent, shorter stops to charge up to around 70-80% is often quicker, and takes the range anxiety out of proceedings.

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