PARIS -- PSA Group says that 5 percent of its small van sales next year will be battery-electric versions, a figure that will rise to 15 percent by 2025.
Xavier Peugeot, the head of PSA's light-commercial vehicle unit, said that the expected growth is a result of stricter emissions regulations, especially in urban areas, where small vans are popular for e-commerce "last mile" deliveries.
"We need to provide customers with answers that will let them continue to do their jobs," Peugeot said in a webcast news conference on Tuesday to answer questions about the group's new battery-electric small vans, the Citroen e-Jumpy, Peugeot e-Expert and Opel/Vauxhall Vivaro-e.
The vans are also sold in passenger versions as the Citroen e-SpaceTourer, Peugeot e-Traveller, and Opel Zafira e-Life and Vauxhall Vivaro e-Life.
Electric versions make up only a tiny fraction of the European van market. The Nissan NV200 was the top seller in the first quarter of this year, with 2,097 sales, followed by the Renault Kangoo at 1,874, according to figures from JATO Dynamics.
In recent years, PSA Group has sold around 150,000 units total of the Citroen, Peugeot and Opel/Vauxhall small vans, the vast majority as commercial vehicles.
The new PSA electric vans will come in commercial and passenger versions, with two different battery packs, a 50-kilowatt-hour pack with a 230 km (143 miles) range and a 75 kilowatt-hour pack with a 330 km (205 miles) range on the WLTP test cycle. Xavier Peugeot said that PSA research found that 83 percent of van buyers drive less than 200 km a day, and 44 percent never drive more than 300 km.
PSA officials said the battery ranges were on a mixed cycle that assumes a certain percentage of payload, but that range is reduced by 5 km by every 100 kg over that number.
The vans come in several different wheelbases, lengths and interior configurations. PSA is working with converters on special models, such as refrigerated units.
The electric versions have the same average payload as diesel models, at 1,275 kg, and can tow up to 1,000 kg.
Orders for the vehicles will open in July for commercial versions and September for passenger versions. PSA has not announced prices, but PSA van product manager Caroline Damey said that they would be as close to those of diesel versions as possible.
Damey said that total cost of ownership was most important for fleet buyers, and that electric vans would have 30 percent lower maintenance costs, as well as a lower energy bill.
PSA says it will have battery-electric versions of its three sizes of commercial vans on the market by the end of 2021. In addition to small vans, battery-powered medium vans (Peugeot Boxer and Citroen Jumper) will be available toward the beginning of next year, with conversions done by a third party.
Car-derived vans (Citroen Berlingo, Peugeot Partner and Opel Combo) will be announced later in 2021, although PSA continues to sell electrified versions of the previous-generation Partner and Berlingo, although with relatively short ranges.
PSA Group officials said they would not discuss questions about van competition issues related to the pending PSA/Fiat Chrysler Automobiles merger. The merged company would have a very high market share of smaller vans in certain European markets, which has triggered an EU investigation.