Toyota Proace City Electric

Toyota’s smooth operator delivers comfort and capability in an electric package

The Toyota Proace City Electric is one of a growing number of electric options for van fleets looking to switch away from diesel. We see what it has on offer to tempt drivers and businesses.

To survive in the world of work, electric vans must be fit for purpose. That means delivering a lifetime of load hauls and job calls without fail.

So that companies can be sure an electric vehicle is tough enough to cope, we offer the Reflex Renewable Drive programme, through which businesses and fleet managers can test drive a range of electric vehicles so they are fully briefed on each model’s capabilities.

The Reflex team use the programme to ensure they also have hands-on experience of how vehicles perform in typical business use.

The Toyota Proace City Electric is our latest review model and a key contender in the manufacturer’s line-up, as it competes in the demanding compact van segment.

It follows the launch of the larger Proace Electric medium duty van and comes in standard and long wheelbase formats.

A no-compromise approach

Toyota points out that its practicality for work is not compromised by the electric powertrain, as it can match the diesel variant for payload, with up to 800kg and 750kg towing capacity.

Opting for the long-wheelbase version reduces the payload by 50kg, but you get the maximum 4.4m3 space in the back compared to 3.8m3 in the short wheelbase version.

The load space extends with the benefit of a ‘Smart Cargo’ system, fitted as standard to all versions, which offers a folding passenger bench and through-loading facility.


Enough range for most jobs

While the range of its 50kWh battery is only around 160 miles (we averaged about 120 miles of usable range during our tests), this could be suitable for a wealth of commercial vehicle operations.

Government figures show that around half of all vans in Great Britain tend to work locally, within 15 miles of their base. The average mileage of a van is around 50 miles per day.

This means the Proace City Electric has enough energy to power most drivers through their day.  

There are several options when charging, with a standard wall box taking seven hours to replenish the battery, while a 100kW fast charger can do the job in 30 minutes. In reality, the best solution is the ‘volt and bolt’, where you add just enough charge to complete the day’s journey, then fully charge after work. This can cut charging stops to as little as 10 minutes.


Praise from drivers

Our test drivers praised the simplicity of charging the Proace City Electric.

One driver said:

“The charging port is at the back of the vehicle; you just pop the cap and it’s good to go. In the past I have struggled with finding and opening the electric charging port, so getting it right ensures the van is user-friendly.”

While some other new vans may offer longer range, the Proace City Electric has an advantage when it comes to charging speed.

Another driver added:

“Range-wise it might not be as good as some other vans, but charging time is really good. When I plug in at the same time as drivers in other brands of electric van, I am often able to leave before they do.”

When plugged in, the Proace City Electric’s status is indicated by a lighting system around the van’s charging port. 

A white light signals the vehicle is in stand-by mode, ready for charging to start; during charging the light flashes green, which then becomes solid green when charging is complete. A red light indicates a problem, while a blue light shows that a charge has been scheduled.

A smooth operator on the road 

On the road, the benefits of electric propulsion become clear. The Toyota offers a nice smooth drive, while the controls are simple to use, which reduces stress for the driver.

In place of a gear lever, the Proace City Electric has a toggle switch on the centre console to engage Park and select Drive, Neutral or Reverse. Another switch offers Eco, Normal and Power drive modes.

Peak output in Power mode is 134bhp, but electric energy is more about pulling power, with a maximum of 260Nm of torque available.

While the van has a top speed of 83mph and 0-62mph acceleration of 11.2 seconds, this only ensures you spend more time at the charging station. Instead, efficient driving will maximise the van’s potential to achieve its official economy of around 3 miles per kWh.

The van handles well, with the battery hidden beneath the floor giving it a low centre of gravity. A small turning circle makes it easy to use in urban areas. 

The load bay is also uncluttered and with two sliding side doors it’s easy to load and reach items inside.


Standard equipment stands out

Toyota has fitted plenty of equipment to the single Icon trim to make time behind the wheel less demanding, including cruise control, an adjustable speed limiter, front and rear parking sensors, reversing camera, and tyre pressure warning system.

Creature comforts mirror the diesel model, with an eight-inch touchscreen and smartphone integration with Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, DAB reception and Bluetooth, plus two USB ports.

There is a growing number of rivals to the Proace City Electric including the Renault Kangoo E-Tech, Mercedes eCitan, Nissan Townstar and Maxus E Deliver 3. 

There is also a trio of challengers from Stellantis, which use the same platform as the Toyota - the Citroën e-Berlingo, Peugeot e-Partner and Vauxhall Combo Electric. Each variant has its own merits, with the Toyota standing out for standard equipment levels. 

During our test week, drivers reported that their working day barely differed compared to life with a diesel van, making it an attractive prospect to switch to simpler, cleaner motoring.

As one driver said:

“Overall, it’s a nice, easy van to drive.”

To find out more about Reflex Renewable Drive or the electric options that would be most suitable for your business, contact the Reflex Vehicle Hire team.

Share to:

Stay up to date

Enter your details below to get updates and news from Reflex Vehicle Hire