While the electrification of the new-car market is gathering pace, some sectors are growing faster than others. If you're in the market for an SUV or city car, there's plenty of choice, but if you need to carry seven people or more, the options are a lot more limited. However, there are multi-seat electric models available, and there are more on the way. Here we list the models currently available, plus some that are coming soon.
OK, we'll admit it, a lot of these models will be electric van-based MPVs. And they'll all look quite similar, because the main companies that make them are part of the Stellantis group. The Citroen e-Berlingo comes in two lengths, and the long model came with the option of a third row. We put that in past tense, because the seven-seat option isn't currently available on the Citroen configurator, but there are second-hand examples available.
The boxy body means space is decent, while the e-Berlingo will be one of the cheaper routes to multi-seat electric car ownership. If you're not keen on Citroen for whatever reason, the Peugeot e-Rifter and Opel Combo e-Life offer the same space in slightly different packages.
The bigger brother to the e-Berlingo is another van-based MPV - this time based on the medium-sized e-Dispatch - but it gets the same powertrain, with a 50kWh battery and a 136hp electric motor. This offers adequate performance and is smoother than any of the diesel powertrains, but even better is that there are two body lengths and up to nine seats on offer. The e-SpaceTourer even comes in upmarket specs, so it's quite comfortable.
If you're looking on the used market, then you might be able to hunt out a 75kWh battery version with an extra 100km of range, although these are very scarce. And as with the e-Berlingo, the e-SpaceTourer has sister models within the Stellantis group, in this instance the Peugeot e-Traveller and Opel Vivaro-e Combi or Zafira-e Life, the latter being a posher version of the Vivaro-e.
A somewhat left-field choice from Maxus, the Chinese company that up until now has only sold vans in Ireland. The MIFA 9 is van-shaped, but it's about as far removed from a commercial vehicle as can be, with a plush interior that's more like a limousine's. Top-spec models have executive seats in the back with massage functions and other electric controls operated via a touchscreen on each armrest. While there's six or seven seats and electric drive, it's an expensive option, and not a very good one.
Electric SUVs are common, but seven-seat electric SUVs aren't. The Mercedes EQB is one option, although the third row can be pretty tight for anybody above an average height. Use the seats occasionally and it'll be fine, while the plush interior, decent range and quiet refinement are its major advantages.
At the top of the Mercedes SUV tree, the EQS has the latest tech on board, and is a supreme luxury vehicle. Unlike the EQB, it uses a dedicated EV platform, so space in the rearmost row is more acceptable, although it still can't match the van-derived EQV in that regard. Where it does take an advantage is its comfort, with air suspension smoothing out even the roughest surfaces. It's an expensive option, though.
Like the Citroen/Peugeot/Opel models, the EQV is based on a van, but it's a much more sophisticated piece of kit than those models. It offers six to eight seats depending on specification and whether you choose a standard or long body, but the interior is well appointed and the electric powertrain boosts refinement to another level.
The Model X has returned to the Irish market, but it's only available in left-hand drive as a new car. You can choose the 1,020hp Plaid model if you like, but more sensible is going to be a used example. These are more common and have the steering wheel on the correct side, while the rear 'Falcon' doors that open upwards will be a talking point whenever passengers get in and out.
The squared-off looks of Kia's flagship electric SUV will turn heads, while a footprint that's larger than a Sorento's means plenty of space for seven inside, plus the firm's latest tech will feature, too. However, Kia is taking a turn upmarket, and the EV9 won't be cheap.
Volkswagen ID. Buzz LWB
Range: 420km (est)
The standard ID. Buzz is a five-seater, but it will be joined by a long-wheelbase version in 2024 that will have a third row in the back. Don't expect class-leading space when it does arrive, but there's no doubt that it will be the coolest looking seven-seater on the market.
Another company making a move upmarket is Volvo, and the EX90 will be the most expensive model it has ever sold. However, it will back it up with the latest technology, a seven-seat interior and a killer blow in the fact it has an officially tested range of 600km that puts it ahead of rivals.