Citroën Reveals Its All-electric ë-Dispatch
A leading player in the Light Commercial Vehicle market for 90 years, Citroën unveiled its 100% electric compact van: ë-Dispatch.
Following C5 Aircross SUV Hybrid and Ami, the brand is continuing its “electrification for all” offensive, which will result in the launch of six electrified models in 2020.
The French brand knows business customers have different expectations to private customers, which is why Citroën has more than 350 dedicated Business Centres across Europe (G10). The “Inspired by Pro” philosophy has recently been enhanced, with the launch of a new retail concept aimed exclusively at business customers under the La Manufacture Citroënbanner (currently operational in France, The Netherlands, Belgium and Spain). This initiative demonstrates the Citroën brand's strong desire to offer business customers tailored services, personalised contact and comfortable surroundings, ensuring they enjoy a unique and professional experience.
In 2020, the brand is launching a major electrification offensive across its commercial vehicle range.Citroën is widening the choice of electric vehicles available to business users, with a range that will be 100% electrified by 2021. It will be comprised of ë-Dispatch plus a 100% electric version of Relay in the second half of 2020, and a 100% electric version of Berlingo Van during 2021. This range will benefit business users by offering a benchmark level of comfort, controlled operating costs, freedom to access town centres and the ability to keep up with the growth of e-commerce.
Citroën expects to position ë-Dispatch at the top of the BEV (Battery Electric Vehicle) market, with an offering that is highly adapted to the needs of fleet and business LCV customers. Totally integrated into the Dispatch range, ë-Dispatch is only visually different on the outside due to the charging port positioned on the left-hand front wing. Plus a blank section in the grille at the front, and a new “ë” badge fitted to the right of the grille and again on the left-hand rear door.
Built on the Groupe PSA EMP2 multi-energy platform, this electric version of Dispatch is offered with two battery powertrains - giving two levels of vehicle range - allowing every operator to select the one that best suits their needs and budget. The first option is the 143 miles (WLTP) range version, available with XS and M body styles, fitted with a 50 kWh battery, made up of 18 separate modules. The 205 miles (WLTP), available with M and XL body styles, is fitted with a 75 kWh battery, made up of 27 individual modules. The 50 kW/h battery pack not available on XL in the UK.
Whichever range option the customer chooses, Citroën ë-Dispatch is fitted with a lithium-ion battery pack. Most importantly, the EMP2 platform allows the batteries to be mounted in the chassis, so maintaining the van's load volume. The batteries store and supply the energy for the electric motor, and the air-conditioning and heating systems. The charge level is displayed on the instrument cluster in front of the driver, alongside a reserve warning light. A 12V accessory battery supplies the traditional vehicle electrical system. It is automatically re-charged from the drive battery pack.
New ë-Dispatch offers all the advantages of the architecture from the existing internal combustion engine (ICE) versions. This means compact exterior dimensions, while offering modularity, ergonomics, interior space, storage space and optimised loading capacity, making it an ideal work tool. ë-Dispatch is available in three lengths, including the XS model at 4.60m - designed for easier access to urban centres and for unfettered parking. This length, coupled with a volume of up to 5.1m3, makes for an extremely compact van. ë-Dispatch is just 1.90m tall, which means it can go where many competitors cannot, such as underground car parks and shopping centres etc.
With payloads of up to 1,275 kg ë-Dispatch sits at the heart of its segment. Load volumes are identical to the ICE versions, of between 4.6 m3 (XS without Moduwork) and 6.6 m3 (XL with Moduwork) are at market-leading levels. Towing capability will be up to 1 Tonne on all versions. Width between wheel-arches is 1.25m, sufficient to load European pallets.
The electric motor drives the vehicle according to the drive-mode selected, and the driving conditions. It harvests energy under braking or during deceleration. Power is 100 kW (136hp) / 260 Nm torque. Maximum speed is 80 mph (130 km/h) in all drive modes (Eco, Normal, Power). The three-mode selector includes Normal, Eco and Power modes.
Normal when used optimises range and performance. When Eco is selected, the setting optimises energy consumption by reducing the output of the heating and air-conditioning without shutting them off completely, and by limiting motor torque and power. Power mode delivers vehicle performance at maximum payload (MGVW) equivalent to Normal mode when unladen. The warranty period for the powertrain and battery is 8 years or 100,000 miles.
The charging port is on the left-hand front wing on ë-Dispatch and charging operates when in Park mode. There are three charging modes available which comprise Home charging, Private or public accelerated charging and Super-fast charging.
Home charging, requires a mode 2 cable (for charging at home, at a place of work or in a car park). It is compatible with a standard domestic socket (cable available as an accessory). Private or public accelerated charging, needs a ‘Wallbox' at home and a mode 3 cable. A 32A cable (supplied as standard with the vehicle) charges the van from 0 to 100% in less than 8hours (7.4 kW Wallbox). Super-fast charging at a mode 4 public charging point (cable incorporated into charger) offers up to 100 kW charging. It can charge a 50 kWh battery to 80% in 30 minutes and a 75 kWh battery to 80% in 45 minutes.
Using the MyCitroën app, the user can manage the battery charging function. They are able to see the battery charging status and the operating range, control the remote cabin pre-conditioning and programme delayed charging (this can also be done from the vehicle's touchscreen via the connected navigation in the “Energy” menu). This operation is available for home (mode 2) or accelerated (mode 3) charging. Delayed charging can be altered at any time. Once programmed, just plug the vehicle in and press the button located inside the vehicle charging port.
To make charging easier for UK customers, Citroën has entered in to a partnership with Pod Point. Pod Point supply and install accelerated charging points (Wallboxes) that allow an ë-Dispatch to charge fully in 8 hours (based on a 7.4 kW charging point). Once the customer has been referred, Pod Point will contact them and manage the process fully from booking to installation. Pod Point is the market leader in terms of volume of charging points fitted and customer satisfaction. Citroën UK customers benefit from an extended 5 year warranty on the charging points. Business and fleet customers can also arrange workplace installation with a free (virtual or physical) site survey.
A choice of on-board chargers are available, either 7.4 kW (standard) or 11 kW (optional). An ë-Toggle gearbox controller on the central console is available for Park, Reverse, Neutral, Drive and Brake. A specific instrument unit with a battery charge indicator, along with a gauge showing the electrical consumption of the on-board electric climate control equipment (heating, air-conditioning) is provided. The built-in screen shows notably the energy flow and the vehicle state of charge.
ë-Dispatch's 7-inch touchscreen incorporates a completely new section in its menu. Under “Energy”, the user can access the vehicle's specific electric powertrain features: energy flow, consumption statistics, delayed charging. Energy flow shows the operation of the electric drivetrain in real time with the driving mode selected, including the battery charge level. Consumption statistics, includes a summary for the current journey. Thermal pre-conditioning is also available.
The ë-Dispatch comes in three versions. The lead-in X version, incorporates essential items such as an RD6 MP3 Bluetooth Radio, electric and heated mirrors, and an electric parking brake. The Enterprise version - the most flexible model at the heart of the range - includes all equipment from the X version, with the addition of rear parking sensors, air-conditioning, alarm, automatic lights and wipers, 7-inch colour touchscreen with Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, and the brand's Moduwork dual passenger bench with fold-up outer seat.
The Driver version, made for mile-eaters, includes all equipment of the Enterprise version, plus additional front parking sensors, blind spot monitoring, a Visio Park 180° rear parking camera, 17-inch ‘Curve' alloy wheels, Citroën Connect Navigation with voice recognition, and a Safety Pack (lane departure warning, speed limit recognition, intelligent speed adaptation, driver attention alert, smart beam headlights and Active Safety Brake).
The internal combustion powered Dispatch already sets a benchmark for comfort with its suspension tuning for an optimum ride. Dispatch also features a raised driving position for a commanding view of the road, high-level and comfortable seating, generous cabin space and an ergonomic dashboard. An incarnation of the Citroën Advanced Comfort programme - aimed at a wide range of business users (craftspeople, building trades, delivery companies and public authorities) - ë-Dispatch provides even greater personal comfort, driving comfort and comfort at work. It is a regular Citroën commercial vehicle, but in ë-comfort mode with the addition of various benefits.
Moduwork provides a feeling of being in the office. Thanks to its special partition and the modularity of the outer passenger seat in its raised position, Moduwork extends the flat floor by a further 1.16m, giving up to four metres of useful load length. It can also transform the cabin into a true mobile office. Lowering the central armrest reveals a swivel table (depending on version), making it easy to work comfortably on paperwork or on a computer. The tablet holder (an accessory) - cleverly fixed into the upper central storage area - unfolds in front of the dashboard. It is designed for tablet formats of up to 11-inches. Power supply is via the USB port (depending on version) close by in the façade.
ë-Dispatch makes 15 useful assistance systems available to business users, for safe and stress-free driving. Unique in the segment is Hands-free opening. The hands-free sliding side door function (depending on version) means the side doors can be opened and closed without touching them, a genuinely unique feature in the segment. While carrying the key, simply waving a foot under the corner of the rear bumper unlocks the vehicle and the sliding door on that side opens automatically. With the same movement, the door closes and the vehicle locks on moving away from it. This function is perfect for loading and unloading operations with both hands full.
Other assistance features include keyless entry and start, Active Safety Brake, head-up display, hill start assist, Driver attention alert, Lane departure warning system, collision risk alert, Visio Park 180° rear parking camera, Coffee Break Alert, intelligent headlamp beam control, Grip Control, speed limit sign recognition and recommendation, cruise control-speed limiter and blind spot monitoring system.
ë-Dispatch offers three connected packages for the safety and comfort of all. These packages are part of the Citroën Advanced Comfort programme, with the aim of making access to connected services quick and intuitive for the customer, while meeting three key requirements: optimal safety, easy navigation and an improved connected experience.
Connect Assist is available for the safety of the driver and passengers, ë-Dispatch comes with Assistance & SOS. Automatic activation, or manual pressing of the “Assistance” button, puts the driver in contact with a dedicated call centre that can provide help when needed. In the event of an accident with activation of the airbags, an automatic call is made to the emergency services, informing them of the vehicle's location. In case of a minor accident, or if someone feels unwell, the driver can press the red “SOS” button to send a message to the emergency services (transmits the identification of the vehicle and its exact location).
Connect Assist can be used to connect the MyCitroën app to the vehicle in order to obtain access to vehicle data such as state of charge, range, delayed charging, thermal pre-conditioning, parking location, mileage and next service.
ë-Dispatch will arrive in UK showrooms during the second half of 2020. It will be joined by a 100% electric version of Relay at the end of the year and an electric Berlingo Van next year. From 2021, the entire Citroën LCV range will include electrified models alongside efficient internal combustion engines.