Chinese commercial vehicle brand LDV has made a bold entry into the Australian electric vehicle market launching three new zero emission battery electric vehicles into three different sectors of the commercial vehicle segment.

The company’s Australian distributor, Ateco Group unveiled the eDelivery 9 electric van range, along with the eT60 electric ute and the Mifa 9 seven seat electric people mover.

Ateco’s general manager of LDV  said  the brand’s parent company SAIC one of the world’s largest OEMs with extensive experience as an electric vehicle manufacturer in China, and arguably is the fastest moving EV market in the world.

“As a result, LDV is leading the charge when it comes to rolling out all-electric commercial vehicles in Australia,” said Chinnappa,.

The eT60 double-cab ute is the first electric ute to be launched  in Australia and is equipped with a 130kW/310Nm electric motor which drives the rear wheels, powered by an 88.5kWh battery pack.

The eT60 weighs in at 2300kg and LDV claims  a driving range of 330km with no load in the tray. However if you  do load the electric ute up then the range comes down  and if you pile on the maximum load capacity of 1500kg then you can only expect a range of about 160 to 170km, depending on the operating conditions.

An onboard 11kW AC charger allows the LDV eT60 to be charged from five to 100 per cent in around nine hours while it can DC fast-charge from 20 to 80 per cent in about 45 minutes.

Ateco says it already has a strong enquiry rate  from a number of key customers, and while executives would not be drawn on who  the potential buyers might be, it’s fair to say  that local councils along with other ‘green leaning’ government, semi government and corporate buyers would be lured by the virtue of a zero emission ute, which with a price tag of around $92,000 will have limited appeal amongst private buyers. We understand one particular new age retailer is keen to have a fleet of eT60s to underline its environmental credentials.

“There is an undoubted appetite for commercial application EVs,” said Chinnappa.

“Around 40 per cent of Australian businesses surveyed recently by Small Business Loans Australia said they would purchase an EV in 2023 if Albanese’s Electric Car Discount Bill goes through Parliament,” he said.

“These Australian businesses know the eT60 isn’t going to cross Nullarbor – but that its 330km range is more than adequate for their everyday requirements.

“But they also know government EV policy and EV infrastructure is on the move and they want to be ahead of the transition. And the LDV eT60, Australia’s first electric ute, is here to help,” he said.

T&B News had the chance for a brief drive of the new eT60 at the launch last week and  came away impressed by its performance, road manners, build quality and above all its quietness. This is not a ute you will be looking to  take  on a long off road journey through the Aussie outback, apart from anything else it is only a 2WD with power supplied to the rear axle. However as a city based working pick up truck for works supervisors, council rangers, delivery drivers and the like, it should prove ideal.

The eT60  delivers instant torque  that will blast it away from the line using its two speed transmission, shifting imperceptibly from first into top as the speed built. Likewise the regenerative braking supplied by the electric motor/generator  provided very effective retardation when baking off the throttle

The LDV eDeliver 9 van is the first electric van to actually go on sale in Australian beating the likes of Mercedes, Renault and Ford who have all announced electric vans but are yet to roll then out to commercial customers, or to give a price.

Like the eT60, the eDeliver 9 shares its basic architecture and underpinnings with its diesel powered siblings and will be available in three  variants with both a  mid roof and a high roof in long wheelbase van configuration and a cab chassis on offer.

LDV says the eDeliver 9 is Aimed squarely at sole traders, SMEs, transport companies and corporate fleets who want to reduce their environmental footprint. The eDeliver 9 delivers whisper quiet progress, reduced maintenance costs and, zero battery impact on cargo space.

Pricing for the LDV will start from $99,990 for the cab chassis joining the expanding electric van market which includes models from Renault, Mercedes-Benz and Ford.

Based on the diesel-powered LDV Deliver 9, the eDeliver 9 is available overseas in three body styles – Big (short wheelbase), Bigger (long wheelbase) and Cab Chassis – offering between 9.66 to 10.97 cubic metres of load volume.

The LDV eDeliver 9 utilises a 150kW/310Nm electric motor on the rear axle which is powered by the same 88.5kWh lithium ion  battery pack as the eT60.  In the van they deliver a range of about 280km   for the mid roof and about 275 km for the high roof models, while the can chassis is equipped with a 65kWh battery  that gives a 150 km range.

“From an operational perspective, the eDeliver 9 demands little, if any, compromise from the fleet operator. The location of the battery under the floor has ensured zero impact on the cargo space. There has been no reduction in cubic capacity or disruption to the flat floor space, so our launch range is optimised for urban logistics with no compromise on capabilities,” said Chinnappa.

All three van variants are powered by a 150kW -300NM permanent magnet  synchronous motor driving the front wheels

AC and DC charging capabilities are unchanged from the electric ute.

Safety equipment includes  six airbags including front side and side curtain, autonomous emergency braking, electronic stability control, lane departure warning and a wide view  rear camera.

The eDeliver9 comes with Adaptive Cruise Control, Hill Hold Assist, front and rear parking sensors, Apple CarPlay and BluetoothT phone connectivity, USB ports, under seat storage, multi-function steering wheel and overhead storage compartments make the office on wheels as practical as possible.

The cargo area is equipped non-slip entry steps and heavy duty non-slip rubber flooring,  eight tie-down points, passenger side sliding cargo door and 236 deg opening rear barn doors.

The eDeliver 9 has the same cubic capacity as its  diesel alternative which is  10.97m3 for the LWB Mid Roof and 12.33m3 for the LWB High Roof. Payload is 1,410kg for the Mid Roof and 1,350kg for the High Roof, while braked towing capacity is limited to 1,500kg.

LDV is targeting the eDeliver 9 at fleets,  with Ateco pointing out that many of whom are embarking on self-funded trials. In one case, a multi-day trial with a household name company in the congested streets of Bondi and Newtown which saw the eDeliver 9 return at the end of each full working day with approximately 30 per cent battery charge left.

The eDeliver 9 comes with a 5-year/160,000km vehicle warranty, an 8-year/160,000km battery warranty and 5-year/160,000 Roadside Assistance.

LDV’s third electric vehicle to be unveiled was the Mifa 9 electric people mover  which has a starting price of $106.000 plus on road cost, which is about twice the price of its petrol powered sibling.

“The LDV eDeliver 9 is every bit a comprehensive package as our number one selling diesel variant with the added advantage of being whisper quiet and having zero emissions at the tailpipe,” said Chinnappa.

“This, combined with the proven dependability of the existing Deliver 9 model, has allowed has to secure fleet deals and have ongoing discussions with a cross-section of some of Australia’s largest corporations and Government agencies for eDeliver 9 as they begin the transition from ICE to EV,” he said.

The Mifa 9  wil be available in three different variants starting from the entry level Mode at $106,000, moving up to the Executive at $117,000 and the top of the line at $131,000.

LDV’s petrol powered MIfa models will also be available  with entry level from $53990, the Executive petrol from $63,990 and the Luxe petrol from $72,990.

At those prices LDV concedes they won’t be rushing out the door  but for image conscious transfer services, chauffeur  drives and  corporates/ hotel chains the Mifa 9  will be certainly a consideration.

The seven-seat Mifa 9 is the first LDV model to be built on a dedicated electric platform, and is powered by a 180kW/350Nm electric motor, coupled to a 90kWh battery pack which LDV says will deliver a 440km range.

The Mifa 9 comes with an onboard 11kW AC charger which can top up its battery up from five to 100 per cent in about  8.5 hours, however if a  DC fast charger is used, the battery can be taken from 20 to 80 per cent in about 36 minutes.

The Mifa 9 comes with a suite of safety technology including autonomous emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, rear collision warning system, lane departure warning, lane change assist, emergency lane keep assist, electronic stability control and a fatigue reminder. An eight-seater variant of the electric people-mover is expected in early 2023.

“Every major OEM is committed to developing electric vehicles but the growing influence of China’s EV market on the rest of the world is significant – and we in Australia are now benefiting from that influence with the arrival of the all-new MIFA 9,” concluded Chinnappa.