If 7-up describes your driving habits rather than your favourite soft drink, then you are going to need a special car. Electric cars with seven seats are comparatively rare as the batteries are tricky to package and the overall weight can be tricky to manage, but there are a few and more are due. 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.
Vantastic? Basing people carriers on commercial vehicles can be a good idea
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.
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.
The EQV takes a van and makes it very posh. And expensive.
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
The other, less van-like Mercedes with seven seats and a battery is the estate-like EQB. It's a neatly packaged car which is officially called an SUV, so it has the raised ride height and chunky looks everyone seems to demand these days. There are also all the usual Mercedes refinements, but the rear pair of seats aren't huge. Anyone bigger than a pre-teen will struggle to get comfortable in there.
The range is a reasonable 253 miles, but the rapid charging is a little on the slow side at only 100kW.
The other problem is the price - the EQB starts at more than £55,000 - it's premium quality but with a premium price tag.
The Buzz is the must-have car of the moment, but anyone needing seven seats is going to have to wait a little longer. Despite its huge dimensions, the current model only has room for five. A bigger, longer version is on the way, say VW, and since the waiting list is already stretching to two year, maybe get your name down now?
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