News - LDV T60
Sounds like the Chinese electric ute
Sparking interest: LDV’s T60 pick-up is a diesel ute – unless it sounds like an electric prototype.
LDV appears to be working on an electrified T60 pick-up in China
19 April 2017
UNLESS our ears deceive us, China’s LDV is developing an electrified version of
its all-new one-tonne T60 pick-up in what would be a world first in the
light-commercial vehicle segment.
And if our eyes did not deceive us, an extra-long “mega-cab” version of the
dual-cab T60 was also wandering around the Chinese proving ground roads while
we were there on the eve of this week’s Shanghai motor show.
The distinctive low-decibel whine of electric motivation was the evidence when
a heavily disguised dual-cab T90 ute was accidentally driven past a handful of
Australian journalists by test drivers at LDV parent company SAIC Motor’s
proving ground in the back-blocks of China this week.
The ute, which is set to take on the likes of the Toyota HiLux and Ford Ranger
in Australia from September this year, is supposed to be powered by internal
combustion engines such as a 2.8-litre four-cylinder diesel developed by
Italian engine-maker VM Motori for Australia.
While VM Motori’s engineers seem to have to a large extent tamed the rattle of
its engines in recent years – including those in the latest Holden Colorado and
Trailblazer – it is hard to believe that any amount of refinement could render
that engine down to a gentle whine as GoAuto heard at the ginormous proving
ground of China’s biggest motor company where we were invited to drive the
conventional LDV T60 and vehicles from sister brand MG’s range.
Quizzed about the observation, no representative of LDV or its parent company
SAIC Motor argued with the assumption that such a vehicle was under development
at the top-secret proving ground where China’s biggest motor manufacturer – 6.5
million vehicles last year – develops its vehicles for both domestic and export
markets alongside those from joint-venture partner in China, General Motors.
SAIC has a stated policy of developing new-energy variants of all its new
models in response to climate change.
These powertrains include low-fuel-consumption petrol units developed in
conjunction with GM, to hybrid, plug-in hybrid and full electric variants.
SAIC executives argue that its product program is driven primarily by success
in its domestic market where electric vehicles have a clear future.
Big cities such as Beijing and Shanghai have written local laws discouraging
internal combustion engines in downtown areas to improve air quality while
encouraging alternative energy vehicles.
To Australians, the thought of an electrified ute makes little sense –
especially commercial sense – but in China, where one-tonne utes have been
frowned upon in downtown major cities, it could find a niche.
Just don’t expect the all-electric LDV T60 at your neighbourhood LDV dealer
The stretched mega-cab version of the T60 might also take a while to reach
Australia as LDV importer Ateco Automotive does not have it on its new-model
We will take a guess and say it might be a Middle East special.
Meanwhile, the first Australia-bound T60 utes have left the LDV production line
in Wuxi, China, bound for LDV dealerships in Australia where they will join the
V80 and G10 vans in the LDV line-up.
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