The New Vauxhall Combo Electric - Vanzone
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The New Vauxhall Combo Electric

The New Vauxhall Combo Electric –  Why you should consider making the move to this emission free van – and let’s address that elephant in the room…

Did you know that in 2024 under something called the ZEV Mandate, electric vehicles must form at least 10% of van manufacturers’ sales? If they fail, they’ll get a £9000 fine for every shortfall. So, the pressure is on and all brands are making a huge effort to make their electric vans appeal, not just to fleets but to the small business too. Van Expert Tim Cattlin takes a look at a mainstay of the SME, the Vauxhall Combo and suggests that in its latest form, it could well be the van that can persuade many to make the switch to a greener operation but, also addresses the elephant in the room…

A Potted History

The Vauxhall Combo is one of those vans that seems, in various guises to have been around forever. In its original form launched in 1993, it sold in big numbers, establishing itself as a favourite with the small business, not to mention big fleets such as Royal Mail. There was a bit of a hiccup when Combo adopted the platform used by the Fiat Doblo in 2012 – a van already established but considered to be a bit of an ugly duckling by many. To the present day, however, the current generation Combo, launched in 2018 has become a huge hit winning enough industry awards to fill a trophy cabinet and regaining favour with businesses of all sizes.

The 2024 Combo Electric

Despite all these awards given to an electric van which had a class-leading range from a full charge and which had been adopted by some major fleet customers, Vauxhall wasn’t prepared to sit on its laurels and quietly behind the scenes worked away on making the van even better. The 2024 Combo Electric has some attention-grabbing headlines…

  • An improved WLTP Combined test cycle range of 222 miles*
  • The City Cycle test result? Up to 304 miles*
  • A 136PS electric motor giving a 0-62mph time of 11.7 seconds
  • Recharge time from a home wallbox charger of 7.5 hours
  • 30 minutes to top up to 80% from a flat battery using a 100kW public DC charger

*As with all electric vans, these figures will be tricky (but not impossible) to achieve in the real world due to load, weather and traffic conditions, ambient temperature, and they assume the cab temperature has been pre-conditioned whilst still connected to a charger. The numbers have real value, however, allowing you to compare the Combo Electric against its competitors. 

The Business end…

This performance from the drivetrain is great, but, unlike those looking to buy an electric car, there’s an equally important aspect to take into account. A van has to earn its keep, so, what can it carry? Surely the weight of the batteries will impact the payload that can be carried and, what about towing? Some electric vans are not permitted to pull a trailer.

Combo ticks most if not all the boxes when it comes to productivity. Available as standard and also a longer ’XL’ model, the buyer has the option of this larger van for those bulkier loads. And for those wanting to tow, the good news is that the Combo Electric can pull a 750kg braked trailer. If you need a multi-purpose vehicle, there’s also a Crew Van, providing an additional row of seats.

Loadspace dimensions (Panel Van)

 Combo ElectricCombo Electric XL
Length (max at floor)1817mm2167mm
Width1527mm1527mm
Width between wheelarches1229mm1229mm
Maximum height1200mm1270mm
Side door aperture width (max)675mm675mm
Volume (standard)3.3cu/m3.9cu/m
Volume with optional load through facility3.8cu/m4.4cu/m
Payload759kg – 781kg691kg – 709kg

What else is new?

2024 Combo Electric will be instantly recognised due to the ultra-sleek and modern ‘Vizor’ front end, a design that the manufacturer is now using on other vehicles in its van and car ranges. The striking grill blends into the LED matrix headlights on the Pro model superbly, and the lower front panel complements this, giving an overall appearance that will win the van plenty of admirers.

In the cab on the higher trim model, there’s a 10” centrally mounted touchscreen which includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration and a 10” digital instrument cluster in front of the driver.

Vauxhall states that, including optional equipment the Combo Electric now has a total of up to 18 advanced driver assistance and safety systems including Dynamic Surround View – a digital rearview mirror that offers a wider area of vision than standard door mirrors. This combines with blind spot detection and a 180-degree rear parking camera to provide the driver with an unparalleled view when driving and manoeuvring.

Trim and specifications

Two levels of trim are on offer, Prime and Pro also being reflected across the Vauxhall van range. A few highlights?

Prime

  • Smartphone station
  • Air Conditioning
  • Cruise control
  • Rear parking sensors
  • Lane Keep Assist and Intelligent Speed Assistance
  • Side loading door (twin on XL version)

Pro

  • 10” touchscreen including navigation
  • 10” digital instrument cluster
  • FlexCargo Pack (load-through bulkhead and fold-down centre seat backrest)
  • Dynamic Surround View
  • Matrix LED headlights
  • Body coloured bumpers, door handles and side mouldings.

The Elephant…

There’s been plenty of chat in the media about the level of depreciation in electric vehicles. Whilst most of this has been about cars, there has been concern too about the values of used electric vans. Whilst there’s some truth behind the headlines, let’s look a little deeper into the influences on these residual values (RV’s), what the outlook is, and how the potential buyer can protect themselves from any volatility.

For electric cars, poor used values can be mostly attributed to one thing – an oversupply of ex-fleet vehicles coming into the used market. Companies were early adopters, keen to reduce running costs and to show off their green credentials. These ex-company cars are coming back into a market in such quantities that supply is exceeding demand, so prices have fallen. The situation hasn’t been helped by one manufacturer in particular massively reducing the price of its new cars in the intervening period.

It’s a little different with vans. Sales of new electric vans are a few years behind those of cars, so the numbers out there are still relatively modest and there’s not the same amount of vehicles appearing for resale. It’s true to say that the prices that have been realised so far are less than the original buyers had anticipated and once again, the reasons are relatively simple. The typical used van buyer remains sceptical that an electric van will work for his or her operation due to range and payload issues. But, with advances in technology, more and more of the latest vans will work in the vast majority of cases, and the reduction in ownership costs due to fuel savings, not to mention the fact that there are more and more low or zero-emission zones appearing in our towns and cities, the practicalities and economy provided by an electric van are countering the concerns previously felt by many.

The outlook for a strengthening second-hand market is good, but, for those who remain cautious, there are a couple of ways they can protect themselves from any future volatile values.

If a new van is funded by Contract Hire which is essentially a long-term rental agreement, the leasing company decides what the van will be worth once the 3 or 4-year term is complete. This depreciation is included in the monthly lease payment and the customer has no exposure whatsoever to an unanticipated fall in value, the finance house taking on the risk. Alternatively, a van could be acquired using a PCP (Personal Contract Purchase) agreement. Here, the vehicle has an optional final ‘balloon’ payment. At the end of the term, you can choose to pay this sum and then own the van outright, or just hand it back. You are in control and can take a view on which option might be best in your circumstances, also taking into account the state of the used van market at that time.

In a nutshell, the latest Combo Electric has pretty much everything that a small business would need in a small van. And for those still concerned about depreciation, the outlook is good but if reassurance and certainty are required, there are finance options available which will allow the owner to sleep soundly at night.

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