A public trial of EV light commercial vans is set to begin in Australia later this year, with Chinese commercial vehicle brand, LDV, gearing up to begin a 12 month trial in urban areas.
LDV’s Australian importer, Ateco Automotive, is in the final stages of arranging a trial fleet of EV80 vans set to go into duty with courier companies and possibly even Australia Post, assessing the viability of fully electric delivery vehicles in high-density low-distance areas.
"We are currently talking to a number of courier companies and a certain large postal organisation about the upcoming trial," Ateco Automotive spokesperson, Edward Rowe, told TMR in China this week.
"We see there is a definite market for urban delivery vehicles, particularly among courier companies that want to reduce their reliance on fossil fuels and see an opportunity to do that with EVs such as the EV80."
The EV80 (sold under the Maxus brand name in China) is the same externally as LDV’s existing V80 large van, with a lithium-ion battery pack mounted beneath the floor providing power to the 100kW/320Nm electric motor allowing a potential driving range of between 150km and 250km when loaded.
Rowe admits that the EV80’s payload drops slightly compared to the regular diesel-powered V80 but indicated that as an urban courier van the EV80 was still up to the task.
Pricing, sure to be a key sticking point for most operator, also won’t be too far off the mark of the current diesel van, which itself is already positioned as a value proposition with Rowe admitting that, "It would be more but we know it couldn't be significantly more..."
LDV’s electric vehicle push forms part of a growing push (along with other automakers) to encourage the federal government to adopt a framework for viable alternative powertrain solutions in Australia.
"Our broader ambition is to engage with governments and showcase that electric vehicles have a place in Australia, and that the demand could grow with more involvement," he said.