Charging is carried out by inserting the mains lead into a special socket on the front wing of the van and plugging the other end into a normal 13A socket. This charges both the traction batteries, and the auxiliary battery (standard car battery type) which operates the lights, wipers, radio etc.

When switched on, the indicators will light for 10 seconds or so and the cooling system pump and fan start up. The batteries require cooling whilst charging, and a water cooling system is used, with a radiator under the bonnet.

The charging point on the wing is covered by a flap which is released by pulling a small lever on the dashboard, and must be closed over the lead before charging will start.

The Energy Meter on the instrument panel shows the energy level while charging. A full charge is supposed to take up to 8 hours.
Charging my Electrique from 20% shows the following:
1 hour : 45%
2 hours: 60%
3 hours: 80%
4 hours: 100%  still indicating charging
5 hours: 100%  still indicating charging
6 hours: stopped charging

It is possible to perform a 10 minute 'quick charge' which puts about 12 miles charge into the batteries, but a 150A supply is needed. There are some public 'Quick Recharging' points around Paris I believe, but that's not a lot of use for us, is it?

There are other charge rates available using Citroen's plug-in workshop kit, but the only one we 'end users' have access to is the standard 8 hour charge.
A Berlingo Electrique enthusiast has developed an interface which will allow you to access the other charge rates; Contact Evan Tuer for more details: 

Thanks to Philippe for the following explanation of the charge rates:
-Normal charge = charge (C1) of 5H maximum (according to the initial state of charge) at 21A followed by a supplementary 'overcharge' at 5A (duration 10th of C1 or maximum 3H)
-Equalisation charge = C1 +1/10 C1 + supplementary 'overcharge' of 3H at 5A
-Maintenance charge  = C1 +1/10 C1 + supplementary 'overcharge' of 5H 10A with on times of 72H, 2 minutes a pulsated load all 28mn.


Watering the cells
NOTE: Topping up must ONLY be done after a maintenance charge, which can be initiated by a Citroen diagnostic unit or an evLite.
The water level in the cells can be topped up using a 'watering system' (see the manuals) connected to the hose adapters under the bonnet. This is an easy procedure involving a distilled water source 1.5m above the cells to give the correct pressure. As each cell is topped up, the water is diverted automatically to the next cell. After the last cell has taken all it needs, the water is diverted to an overflow, indicating that all are topped up.

For those who want to top up their own cells (ONLY after a maintenance charge) the water connectors under the bonnet connect to the packs as follows:
White -    Front lower pack (under the controller)
Yellow -    Rear pack
Purple -    Middle RH pack
Green -    Middle LH pack
Brown -    Front upper pack
(Thanks to Chris B for this info)


Now I don't want to scare anyone, but there is a report claiming that some Saft cells used on the Berlingo between 1995 and 2000 are prone to failure. A reliable source has since suggested that the cells produced for the UK market were not the same as the ones referred to in the report, and we don't have the facilities for fast charging which obviously could put much greater strain on the cells.
Check out the report, if you want to worry yourselves!
Saft Cell failure report





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