Power To The People (Carrier): our list of 7-seater electric cars

Martin Gurdon

12.10.2021

Lockdown has kept us apart, but with restrictions finally being eased we’re now spending more time together, but what if those gatherings are in our cars and involve more than four people? The answer to this conundrum is cars with seven seats, so here’s our guide to electric models with multiple seating skills you can drive now, and a few that you’ll be able to buy in the future.

Peugeot e-Rifter and its Citroen and Vauxhall equivalents.

It’s one of life’s smaller mysteries, but what does ‘Rifter’ actually mean? The ‘word’ doesn’t translate as ‘van with windows and sometimes three rows of seats,’ but that’s what it’s attached to. If you like the idea of a light commercial vehicles-based family car remember that the Citroen e-Berlingo is essentially the same thing, as is the Vauxhall Combo-e Life.In the Peugeot you can have seven seats in standard and long guises. With the third row of seats up you have up to 322 litres of space in the longer vehicle. Peugeot doesn’t bother to quote a short wheelbase, three seats up boot capacity, so the space is notional. Start folding rear seats and the e-Rifter will take a van-load of clobber, because, of course, it’s van with windows. Official range is a claimed 172 miles. Re-energising times run from as little as 30 minutes for an 80 per cent rapid charge.

Peugeot e-Rifter charging, studio shot Vantastic? Basing people carriers on commercial vehicles can be a good idea

Citroen ë-SpaceTourer

If you have lots of friends, tribes of children or need an airport taxi, this could be the vehicle for you. Its three rows of seats will accommodate eight, and there’s the option of a front bench seat insert that will take a ninth person who lacks inhibitions about personal space -as this is a cosy arrangement.The second row of seats have child friendly Isofix attachments, which we approve of, but the lack of standard curtain airbags is poor in a family-friendly vehicle. Heave up the massive tailgate then haul out the rear seats and you’ll have a van-tastic 3.968-litres of space.Officially, the ë-SpaceTourer has a 143 mile range, but we reckon 115-120 is more realistic. Charging times go from an 80 per cent fast charge replenishment in 30 minutes. A 7kW domestic wall unit takes 7 hours 30 minutes for a total re-charge.

Mercedes EQV

The Mercedes EQV is the battery powered range mate to the Vito van, and owning one will set you back a rather eye watering £71,645 for the entry level Sport version (the Sport Premium and Sport Premium Plus derivatives are costlier still). Dig into your pocket and you’ll get three rows of individual seats (two in the middle, three in the back) in what is effectively a poshed up minivan. It’s powered by a 90 kWh battery, which is claimed to keep the EQV going for 213 miles. Charging takes between 45 minutes and 11 hours using a 7.4kWh home charger.Standard kit includes a 360 degree reversing camera and voice-activated MBUX ‘infotainment’ system. Options include a rather natty table for people in the back.

Mercedes EQV rear seats with child seat The EQV takes a van and makes it very posh. And expensive.

Nissan e-NV200 combi

The beaky nosed Nissan e-NV200 Combi is another van with windows and seats combo, but a more affordable, less plush one than the EQV. Unlike the Merc it’s in the departure lounge and will shortly disappear from pricelists, as a new, smaller van, the Townstar -a Renault Kangoo by another name- is taking the e-NV200’s place.

There will be a people carrier, but the smaller Townstar is likely to seat five, unless they make a stretched one, and as this is written, only Townstar vans are inked in for UK sale so the e-NV200 Combi might not be replaced at all.If you’re still set on one before they all vanish from Nissan showrooms, it’s a lot cheaper than EQV, with prices starting at £27,855 for the Visia version which has features including a 6,6kW on-board charger and front cabin curtain airbags. The 40kWh battery and associated running gear is lifted straight from the Leaf hatchback, and the e-NV200 can use this to cover 124 miles between charges. You can add up to 60 miles in stop start city driving where regenerative braking will see charge going back to the battery. Charging times run from half an hour to six hours.

Tesla Model X

There’s a new multi-seat Tesla Model X coming, but the fact that it hasn’t arrived yet (think end of next year) hasn’t prevented Tesla from killing off the old one now, so if you really want a Model X now, you’ll have to buy a second hand example.

A hulking 7-seat hatchback, with bat wing rear side doors, the Model X shares the equally unavailable Model S’s twin motor, four-wheel-drive underpinnings. It provides supercar performance (see our road test here) and a 340-mile plus range. It’s so quiet that you’ll hear the odd rattle from the cabin, reminding you that Teslas aren’t quite as well screwed together as some conventional rivals.

Currently, the smaller, newer Model Y is only available in Europe with five seats, but in America seven seaters are sold. Tesla UK is coy about whether they will eventually come here.

If you want to be the e-NV of your friends, you'll have to hurry

ON THE HORIZON

Mercedes EQB and friends

This is a big, chunky looking sports utility, that will have seven seats as standard, a predicted WPT range of 260 miles, and will go on sale in Britain at some point next year. Mercedes is keeping tight lipped about battery sizes, motor power, etc, although this stuff is likely to appear soon. It’s saying even less about the EQT, an electric people carrying version of the forthcoming compact T-Class van. Likely to be christened EQT, this is a big box on wheels, which would lend itself to a seven seat version. Likewise, the jacked up, squared off EQG battery powered version of the butch G Wagon 4x4. Speculation in the press is that it could be 2025 before that’s seen in showrooms. A case of wait and see.

VW ID. Buzz

This smaller-than-a-Transporter van has been a long time coming. Volkswagen was releasing teaser information about it back in 2018, when images made it look like a re-born first generation Microbus. Styling of the production version is less distinctive, but there will be a multi seat multi windowed version in the mix. VW hasn’t revealed its engineering and performance vital statistics, but they will doubtless see the light of day before the ID. Buzz goes on sale here ‘in the middle of next year.’

Toyota bZ4X

Toyota’s bZ4X, due for UK sale in the second quarter of next year has one of the most unromantic names in car history. Perhaps it's named after one of Elon Musk's children? It’s also an all-wheel-drive electric sports utility which looks as if it should have seven seats, but doesn’t. However, it’s part of a family of bZ-branded electric Toyotas that will include seven seater models. So far, Toyota isn’t saying when they’ll appear here.

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