Strong sales in the crucial 2.5 to 3.5-tonne sector, which contains medium-sized vans, led a recovery in the new LCV market in January, following the travails of last year.

The sector increased by more than 34% year-on-year with 15,538 vans registered during the month, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

Medium vans featured prominently in the top ten sellers list for January. Inevitably, the UK’s best-selling vehicle overall, the Ford Transit Custom, was way out in front with sales of 2,787 ahead of the Volkswagen Transporter on 1,428. The Vauxhall Vivaro (1,332) was the nation’s fourth most popular LCV in January and the Renault Trafic (1,196) was in seventh place.

The ID. Buzz Cargo is undoubtedly the most glamourous electric model in Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles’ portfolio but it is not the only one available.

For those needing a more rugged workhorse, ABT, which previously worked with Volkswagen to produce new electric Transporters, has now launched an electric conversion for diesel-powered Volkswagen Transporter 6.1 vans. ABT is offering the conversion to battery-electric drive via the installation of a 37.3kWh battery and a 112hp electric motor.

This provides a range of between 65 miles and 85 miles on the official WLTP cycle, depending on the van’s spec, with top speed limited to 55mph as standard, or 74mph as an option. A full battery charge can be completed in around five-and-a-half hours with a 7.2kW wallbox, or an 80% charge can be completed with a 50kW charger in around 45 minutes.

ABT says almost all Transporter 6.1 models can be converted, whether long or short wheelbase, with high roof or without, platform models or chassis with special bodies, as long as they have a diesel engine and DSG gearbox. The conversion is available in the UK, but ABT has only quoted prices in euros. It quotes a price for the conversion kit of €19,900 net, and installation and registration costs from €3,950 net (depending on the base vehicle).

Electrification is increasingly influential in the medium van sector and media giant Sky has recently invested in 11 Mercedes-Benz eVito panel vans to help with its drive to go net zero carbon by 2030. The vans will be used by engineers to service TV and broadband customers across the UK.

Leicestershire-based Bott has converted the vans to incorporate the bespoke racking and telematics systems required by Sky as well as adding the company’s distinctive graphic wraps to the vans’ exteriors.

Continuing the electrification theme, EV leasing company DriveElectric is now making plug-in vehicles available on short-term deals through its FlexiHire service and the Peugeot e-Expert Long is the medium van on offer – for a fee of £795 per month.

Finally, Citroen has introduced new trim levels for its van range. Its mid-sized e-Dispatch and Dispatch models are now available in Enterprise Edition and Driver Edition specifications, replacing the previous Enterprise Pro and Driver Pro grades.


ABT electric VW T6.1 conversion January 2023

Citroen Dispatch and e-Dispatch Enterprise Editions January 2023

Citroen Dispatch and e-Dispatch Driver Editions January 2023

DriveElectric FlexiHire Peugeot e-Expert February 2023