The first electric double cab to the Australian market has landed, but don’t start getting that caravan or site ready just yet…
- It’s an electric ute!
- Adequate to drive
- Being first isn’t easy, but it’s a niche filling a niche
- Very expensive for what is offered
- Execution feels rushed
- Towing and loading are challenges – in a vehicle designed for towing and loading
2023 LDV eT60 Electric Ute
The first electric double cab to launch in Australia has landed with a price tag of $92,990.
That LDV eT60 is an all-electric version of the Chinese brand’s popular double-cab T60. Equipped with a 88kWh Battery powering a single electric motor on the rear wheels, LDV claims the eT60 is capable of a range of 330km.
That’s hardly going to set the segment on fire, a segment that thrives on utility, long-distance rides and the ability to get anywhere.
LDV says it’s not targeting private buyers with its $93,000 mark. Instead, “the LDV eT60 is aimed at large companies, all three levels of government and fleet companies that have committed to emission reduction targets, and private first-time users,” according to LDV.
|Important details||2023 LDV eT60|
|Price||$92,990 plus road costs|
|color of the test car||Jewel Blue|
While we see local councils, mining companies and localized trade networks being a good fit, the eT60 is unlikely to attract too many private buyers.
We had the opportunity to drive the first electric Ute in Australia last week and spent just 12 minutes behind the wheel covering LDV’s carefully curated test track.
And off the bat, it’s easy to surmise that this isn’t a game changer for one of Australia’s most popular new car segments.
Instead, the eT60 fills a very small niche. For now.
It’s a bit incongruous to move from a standstill with the only accompanying sound, the increasingly familiar hum of an electric motor.
Where once the telltale signs of diesel combustion played a ubiquitous accompaniment, now only the electric hum of the motivator and road noise can be heard in the cabin.
This permanent magnet synchronous electric motor is good for 130kW and 310Nm all channeled directly to the rear wheels. Forget off-road driving, this isn’t a 4WD crew cab.
Acceleration isn’t EV-like, although at the seat of the pants it’s quicker than a regular diesel-powered T60. Our very short take-off drive excluded us from meaningful performance tests.
|2023 LDV eT60|
The good news is that the eT60 drives pretty much like a regular ute. It’s a little noisy inside, with wind noise in particular being widespread, and the unloaded ride is jumpy and brittle.
LDV says the paraphernalia we rode at launch were pre-production models, so hopefully suspension tuning is an area that needs some refinement before it hits the retail floor.
The interior is nice without being EV special. There’s a 10.25-inch touchscreen that runs Apple CarPlay but not Android Auto. There is also no satellite navigation. And the steering wheel is made of polyurethane. plastic, in other words.
That’s a $93,000 ute, remember. And that price means there’s a luxury car tax.
Analog dials greet the driver, including, somewhat curiously, an analog battery gauge where the fuel gauge once lived. The age of electrification may be upon us, but analog still reigns in LDV terms.
That’s only highlighted by the fact that you have to put a good old-fashioned key in a cylinder lock to start the eT60. Yes, really.
There is also no parking function. And we’re not talking about park assist here. Instead, the rotary selector (about the only nod to modernity in the cab) only has reverse, neutral, and drive. To park the eT60 you need to leave it in N for neutral and then apply the handbrake, which is done via another analogue throwback, a handbrake lever. Park on a hill and forget to put the handbrake on and you can imagine what happens.
And leaving the gear selector in motion as an EV lifehack of sorts does little to quell the forward or reverse roll unless you apply the handbrake.
|At a glance||2023 LDV eT60|
|warranty||Five years, 160,000 km|
|battery guarantee||Eight years, 160,000 km|
|maintenance intervals||24 months or 30,000 km|
|Energy Disadvantages (claimed)||21.3kWh/100km|
|Range claim (WLTP)||330km|
|Charging time (11kW)||9 hours|
|Charging time (50kW)||1h 15m|
|Charging time (maximum power 80 kW)||45m (20-80%)|
On the road, aside from the jittery ride, the eT60 is pleasant enough without doing anything world-saving good.
Our very short test loop meant we couldn’t accurately gauge energy consumption, although LDV claims that for what it’s worth the eT60 will use 21.3kWh of charge per 100km.
Thanks to its 88 kWh battery pack, the LDV eT60 tips the scales at an impressive 3050 kg. Its maximum braked trailer load is also rated 1000kg. Towing is said to cut the 330km range by about half, so realistically forget about towing with your electric ute.
The payload is also evaluated 1000kgand while we have yet to test both claims, it wouldn’t be far-fetched to suggest that carrying the maximum payload on the rear will also severely impact range.
|Important details||2023 LDV eT60|
|engine||Permanent magnet synchronous motor|
|drive type||rear wheel drive|
|transmission||Single speed automatic|
|towing rating||1000 kg braked|
Charging the battery via an 11kW charger takes around nine hours, while a DC fast charger can charge the eT60 from 20 to 80 percent in around 45 minutes.
As mentioned at the beginning, we can see some advantages in an electric crew cab. And LDV should be commended for being the first company to enter the market in Australia.
But the eT60 is still a long way from being where it needs to be before the general public embraces the idea of an electric ute.
Meanwhile, those organizations that need to meet their emissions targets now have a low utility, zero emissions vehicle that could meet those commitments.
For the rest of us looking to shore up our weekends, we’ll have to wait a little longer.
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