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LDV Australia proposes electric van trial

Hey partner: LDV Automotive Australia is seeking potential partners for a trial of its electric EV80 van.

Chinese van manufacturer LDV set to test the waters with electric EV80 in Australia

28 Apr 2016

CHINESE van importer LDV Automotive Australia is proposing an Australian trial of an all-electric version of its V80 van.

The division of independent vehicle importer Ateco Automotive says it wants to talk with potential partners in the trial of the EV80 van, to test its suitability for Australian conditions and business requirements.

On sale in China since November 2014 and just launched in the United Kingdom, the all-electric EV80 is armed with a 75kW/h lithium-ion phosphate battery that delivers a claimed driving range of 170km on a mix of urban roads and highways, and up to 310km at a steady 40km/h.

Its Chinese manufacturer, China’s biggest motor company SAIC Motor, says the battery can be fully charged on a 30-amp charger in just 2.5 hours – quicker than rivals such as the Nissan e-NV200 and Renault Kangoo ZE.

Maximum power is 100kW, while torque tops out at 320Nm. This is almost identical to the 100kW/330Nm outputs for the 2.5-litre turbo diesel in the standard V80 that was relaunched in Australia a year ago, after an aborted debut under initial importer, WMC, in 2013.

In China, the electric van is available in both 15-seat passenger minibus and goods delivery variants.

A spokesman for LDV Automotive Australia said LDV – known as Maxus in some markets – had both electric and fuel-cell vehicles in its long-term strategy.

“We have already had preliminary discussions for a trial in Australia for the electric V80,” the spokesman said.

“We would like to talk to potential Australian partners who would wish to be involved in such a vehicle trial to test the viability of a V80 electric variant in Australian conditions, and to meet the transport requirements of those partners.”

The proposed trial sounds similar to a Renault Australia program for its Kangoo electric van that has been adopted by the Australia Post fleet for assessment.

The LDV spokesman also confirmed that the Australian company is watching with interest a UK suspension tuning program by Lotus Engineering on LDV’s other van, the G10.

The Ireland-based importer of LDV vans in the UK hired the high-performance engineering company to tweak the suspension to better suit roads there.

One size smaller than the British-designed V80, the G10 has been on sale in Australia for more than a year, but it is only now being introduced in the UK where LDV, once a British manufacturer called Leyland Daf Vehicles, is undergoing a renaissance.

LDV Australia says the suspension tweaks are purely for UK-market G10s “at the moment”.

“We will look with interest at the results, but our feedback here is that the LDV range offers and excellent combination of load carrying ability and comfort for Australian road conditions,” the spokesman said.

Last year, 326 G10s found customers in Australia, compared with 441 V80s.

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