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LDV plans electric van trial in Australia

On trial: LDV’s electric EV80 van is said to be good for up to 250km in urban courier delivery running.

Testing time for LDV’s EV80 electric van in Australian fleet trial

LDV logo20 Apr 2017

By RON HAMMERTON

AUSTRALIA’S LDV vehicle importer Ateco Automotive is planning to import a small fleet of electric-powered V80 vans to test the potential for such vehicles in this market.

To be farmed out to courier companies and – potentially – Australia Post late this year, the 10 vans are designed for urban runs of up to 250km on a charge of the ferric sulphate lithium batteries packed under the floor, although LDV’s parent company in China, SAIC Motor, claims the vans can do 370km in ideal running.

Ateco’s other agenda in the trial is to try to engage the federal government in considering ways to encourage the adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) in Australia, which, unlike countries in Europe, North America and China, have no support for alternative energy vehicles.

Said Ateco’s LDV general manager Dinesh Chinnappa: “The government appears to have no appetite for such vehicles.”

He said that until issues such as the lack of charging infrastructure were addressed in Australia, EVs were unlikely to be commercially viable.

That has no stopped Ateco from giving the van a whirl in the hope that it might encourage large scale transformation.

It is now in negotiation with potential trial participants in Australia.

SAIC motor has a publicly stated policy of developing electrified vehicles – hybrid, plug-in hybrid and full electric – for all of its new products under its MG and LDV (Maxus) ranges.

It is even developing an electrified powertrain for its new T60 one-tonne utility that is set to be launched in Australia in diesel form later this year.

Called EV80, the electric version of the V80 van that, in Australia, is powered by a diesel four-cylinder engine in its conventional form, is already on sale in China.

Developing 100kW of power and 320Nm of torque, the electric motor drives the wheels via a continuously variable transmission (CVT).

SAIC claims the battery can be charged in two hours using a high-capacity charger.

Potential users in the Australian trial will need to have three-phase power at their premises to accommodate such a charger that Ateco will import from China for the purpose.

So far this year, LDV dealers have sold 98 diesel V80 vans in cargo and passenger mini-bus forms, down from 139 in the same period last year.

However, sales of the smaller, newer G10 van have more than taken up the shortfall, giving LDV net growth of more than 22 per cent in 2017.

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