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First drive: LDV EV30 primed for Australia

Australia’s newest all-electric LCV could be LDV’s EV30 small delivery van

LDV logo22 Apr 2019

By NEIL DOWLING in SHANGHAI

THE EV30 small electric delivery van is on the hot list for LDV’s Australian distributor after a technical reveal and complimentary drive program in China last week showed high potential for urban duty.
 
Though the EV30 is badged as a Maxus overseas, the EV30 will likely wear the LDV brand in Australia, and is based on an existing petrol-fueled small van, but with an emissions-free operation of up to 280km.
 
LDV distributors in Australia, Ateco, said it had a lot of potential and could win a large slice of the brisk small-van city-duty market locally, particularly on low-cost ownership costs and a predicted low purchase price.
 
Ateco spokesman Edward Rowe said the EV30 was yet to be confirmed for Australia but it was definitely on the wish list and he saw advantages over its potential rival, the $52,527 driveaway Renault Kangoo EV.
 
The EV30’s cargo area has all the ingredients for a business looking to maximise productivity, with a low-lip, flat floor cargo space that can take two pallets for a cargo volume of five or 6.5 square metres in short and long wheelbase forms respectively.
 
Payloads are rated between 855kg and 1000kg, depending on the wheelbase and battery capacity.
 
The EV30 also has a lift-up rear door in China and as driven here, but Mr Rowe said barn doors would be available and were considered the preference in Australia.
 
There is also a large sliding door on the driver’s side but no word if the van will come with the option of an extra door on the passenger side.
 
The van is basically steel but has composite plastics for the rear door, front fenders and bonnet. Kerb weight ranges from 1375kg to 1585kg, perhaps reflecting why lightweight materials are chosen for certain components.
 
Inside it is a simple design showing contrasting-coloured dash panels, a clean single dial for the speed, and switchgear looking decidedly like something from a Volkswagen. SAIC has a manufacturing arm in China that produces a range of Volkswagen products.
 
The EV30 is sold in China with the choice of 2910mm or 3285mm wheelbase sizes – resulting in an overall length of 4555mm and 5145mm respectively – and with a 35kWh or 52.5kWh battery.
 
The van is fully lined in the rear and has a solid bulkhead, through Mr Rowe said some operators may wish to replace that with a grated divider.
 
With the solid panel behind the driver, it will allow the cargo area to have a controlled temperature that is ideal for operators including bakers and florists.
 
Most surprising of all however, is that the EV30 is actually fun to drive. 
 
The EV30 is as close to the epitome of efficiency, with its fundamental styling – including flat cargo sides for easy signwriting, snub nose and boxed rear – open cabin, simple controls and wide doors at the rear and side.
 
It is as simple to drive as dialing up ‘D’ for drive (there is only reverse and neutral on the twist switch and a press of this switch engages park) and pressing the accelerator.
 
The EV30 has a comparatively small 40kW rated electric motor in the short wheelbase. Buyers of the longer version get an 85kW motor.
 
The plastic floor and hard-plastic body and dash panels makes the electric motor more noticeable than in SAIC’s MG eZS EV – which shares some technology – but that could just be a result of the base model tested here. Adding carpets to the floor may reduce the electric motor buzz.
 
Acceleration is quick from rest but begins to peter out around 110km/h. Maxus claims it has a maximum speed of 125km/h which expands its envelope outside the city.
 
Occupants may become dulled with higher-speed work because the engine’s dull buzz begins to compete with the unladen leaf-spring rear end’s bounce. 
 
But the little van has potential in Australia, dependent on final price and specifications. 
 
Mr Rowe said one deciding factor could be the result of the federal election that could make it easier – or harder – for EVs to be accepted into the country.

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