The e-Partner just the opening volley belongs to Peugeot plans to tackle the new electric van market in Australia.
It will be accompanied by e-Expert in 2024, although Peugeot would not confirm any further information other than to say it is still in discussions with the factory about the timing.
It also wouldn’t confirm whether there are any plans to bring the full-size e-Boxer here to round out its line of electric vans.
While Peugeot could not share volume targets, the company said it has aspirations for growth in the light commercial vehicle sector.
“We’re delighted with Peugeot LCV’s progress in the market, and I think the more awareness we grow in that space, the more we’ll see the opportunity grow as well,” Peugeot Australia managing director Kate Gillis said.
“We’re a small brand, there’s no doubt about it. However, in the LCV space, we’ve got great attractive offers, it’s not as cluttered as potential passenger vehicles, so we’re also getting a lot more attention.”
The Peugeot e-Expert was first revealed in 2019, and shares the EMP2 platform and front-mounted 100kW/260Nm electric motor with the smaller e-Partner.
It is available with either 50kWh and 75kWh or battery, with a claimed range of 330km for the latter according to WLTP testing.
The e-Expert is available in three lengths – Compact, Standard and Long – and all have the same load volume as their combustion counterparts.
Peugeot also claims towing capacity for the e-Expert is 1000kg and payload is 1275kg.
It is unclear whether all versions of the e-Expert will come to Australia as the e-Partner will only be available in one long-wheelbase variant.
Peugeot only has 36 dealers in Australia, but all have been trained to service its growing range of electric vehicles.
The e-Partner will arrive without direct competition, apart from the Renault Kangoo E-Tech Electric arriving later this year, which will replace the outgoing Kangoo ZE.
e-Pakar, once it arrives, will enter segments with higher volumes and more participants – including the electric segment.
Mercedes-Benz already has the eVito, Ford has already confirmed the E-Transit Custom for a 2024 launch, and LDV has confirmed a mid-size electric van of its own.
The e-Partner may be able to carve out a larger share of the segment due to a lack of competition, but small van sales are also small in Australia: in the first half of 2023, just 541 were sold, although the petrol-powered Partner is up 83.4 per cent over the same period last year.
On the other hand, the e-Expert plays in the highest volume van segment in Australia. A total of 11,074 2.5-3.5t vans were sold in the first half of the year, including 28 examples of the recently introduced Mercedes-Benz eVito.
While the e-Partner is Peugeot’s first electric vehicle in Australia, it will be followed by the e-2008 this year and the e-208 next year, while the French brand says the e-308 is under evaluation alongside the e-Rifter , a people-carrying version of the e- Expert.
While Tesla dominates the local electric passenger car and SUV market and the low-priced Chinese brand is making serious inroads, none of these brands currently offer electric vans other than the LDV and its full-size eDeliver 9, priced from a lofty $116,537 pre- road.