In the next issue of Professional Builder we will be reviewing the latest Vauxhall EV – the Vivaro GS Electric. Here, Lee Jones talks to Brad Miller, Head of LCV Product and Pricing about some of the latest developments from the manufacturer.
When it comes to EV, Vauxhall is on the charge. Parent company Stellantis is the only OEM manufacturing LCVs on these shores and has already announced that its Ellesmere Port facility will be producing electric vans, with the Cheshire plant receiving a £100 million worth of investment to make the transition. Moreover, the company has announced that it will switch its entire product line-up to electric vehicles by 2028 – seven years ahead of the UK government deadline, and is one of the few makers that already offers an electric variant of every model.
As more and more builders make the transition to zero emissions they will, however, require support from manufacturers and Vauxhall is equally on hand to provide it. The current portfolio includes an EV Combo, Vivaro and Movano, with advances in load carrying ability and range moving apace. One thing that this UK-based maker of commercial vehicles prides itself on is the honesty with which it approaches the issue of range.
The Vauxhall range calculator tool is designed to ease some of the anxiety that still exists around the issue by providing real world examples. “The WLTP (Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure) figure for the Vivaro is 205 miles but we want to be more transparent than that,” explains Brad. “The winter performance is something that is queried a lot and it’s not just about ambient temperature, of course, because there’s a number of factors that affect the range, including speed, payload and driving style.”
“As with every other manufacturer, the WLTP number is based on specific parameters, including a 28 per cent payload, at 20°C and taking into account a city, suburban, country and motorway cycle. Everyone uses WLTP because it allows a comparison between different brands but the range calculator on our website allows van users to play with things like speed and provides a much greater degree of clarity. If you’re doing more urban driving, for instance, then you can achieve a much higher range.”
Living with an EV is, of course, a different experience to an internal combustion engine vehicle but Vauxhall is doing what it can to help with the move to electric motoring. One such initiative is the Luton-based firm’s partnership with Octopus Energy that will supply an integrated home and public charging package. The latter’s Electroverse service has over 430,000 public chargers, and new and existing Vauxhall van users can access these as well as enjoying home charging through an Ohme home smart wall box installation, also available from Octopus Energy.
In addition, Intelligent Octopus is a home energy tariff that allows for smart charging of your electric vehicle to ensure you charge both at times with a higher mix of renewable energy sources as well as on the most affordable rate. By bringing home and public charging together tradespeople can then power their vehicle via one monthly bill with a single card and app.
“One of the frequent criticisms is that the EV charging market is fragmented, which means van drivers need to utilise multiple apps and cards depending on where they are,” continues Brad. “This partnership brings everything together for the end user with what is already the largest charging service provider at the disposal of Vauxhall owners.”
The Vauxhall van portfolio was also recently reconfigured with a simplified choice of trim. Prime and Pro variants have replaced the outgoing Dynamic, Sportive, Elite, and Edition trims, whilst the Vivaro Electric GS is now the UK’s first fully electric ‘sports’ van. “This is our halo vehicle,” enthuses Brad. “Vauxhall remains unique in having that third trim level, and it is heavily laden with style, safety and connectivity features.”
Indeed, this high spec addition features a bold road presence with 18-in. Y-spoke black alloy wheels, a lip spoiler at the front, side skirts around the vehicle and a two-piece spoiler at the rear to improve stability when unladen. Inside, there’s hand-crafted eco- leather seats with red stitching and a GS logo.
Elsewhere in the EV range the Movano Electric now benefits from a larger 75kWh battery, replacing the outgoing 70kWh unit. That delivers up to 15 extra miles of range, allowing for a full range of up to 154 miles (WLTP), up from 139 miles.
Technical improvements to the Movano-e’s electric architecture have also resulted in significant charging time improvements, with a 0-80% charge from a 22kW AC charger now taking four hours (down from eight hours). The Movano-e also comes as standard with 50kW DC (CCS) rapid charging capability, enabling a 0-80% charge to be completed in just one hour.
Versatility is one of the guiding principles of the Vauxhall range and that’s why it’s one of the only companies to offer a choice of batteries on an electric van – with the Vivaro equipped with either a 50kW or 75kW unit. With a lighter battery pack the former has the advantage of an increased payload of up to 1,226kg.
Many builders will not be putting in high levels of mileage, especially with their van parked up outside the job for much of the day. That means they could well be ideally placed to make the transition to electric vehicles and Vauxhall provides one of the most extensive ranges on the market. The company now has its own dedicated LCV Business Unit, allowing it to get closer to its customers, improve the buying experience, and squarely focus on the van portfolio.
For further information on the Vauxhall range of vans visit Vauxhall Van Range | Vans For Business | Vauxhall.
For further information on the Vauxhall electric vehicle range calculator visit Range | Living with an Electric Vehicle | Vauxhall.