LDV  has launched a new battery electric van  that it says has been priced  to convince buyers to think twice before choosing a diesel van over the zero emission alternative.

LDV Australia boss Dinesh Chinappa says  that fleets will be the focus for the new electric midsize van, the eDeliver 7, which  will debut on the Australian market at a starting price for ABN holders of $59,990 before on road costs.

While that is around $10,000 more than  many top selling diesel vans like the Toyota HiAce, it is highly competitive for a full battery electric van, and Chinappa says it has been deliberately positioned to be attractive to fleets because with its ongoing total ownership operating costs make business buyers think twice before choosing a new diesel van instead.

The eDeliver 7 starts from $59,990 before on-road costs for ABN holders, with an array of variants available, and while that pricing is about $10,000 higher than

mainstream diesel vans such as the Toyota HiAce, LDV’s team argues that the electric van is competitive, if not compelling, for its ongoing ownership costs, and the total cost of ownership for fleet buyers.

Chinappa doesn’t think the eDeliver 7 will appeal to small businesses and owner operator couriers that for smaller enterprises and owner-operator couriers,  but for medium size companies the eDeliver 7  is showing a lot of promise.

“Supply won’t be an issue with the eDeliver 7 we will get as many as we want and I believe initially we will sell hundreds of them a month,” said  Chinappa.

“I reckon the price might not be in the sweet spot for small business and owner operators, but we are speaking to some medium-sized enterprises with big fleets of vehicles around the country that could be ready to move to an electric van,” he said

“We now fall into the category where fleet managers can sit back and look at this thing and say this is the right price for them,  and they can actually justify buying this thing commercially and operating it,  while also achieving  their climate change and social responsibilities, as well as their corporate objectives,” he added.

“Fleet buyers think differently to private customers, with longer-term projections and perspectives in mind,” he said.

“When you look at the commercial viability of this van, you’re looking at a premium to a Toyota HiAce, circa 15 per cent.”

“As soon as you run your eye over the cost of fuel versus the cost of electricity, servicing costs; electric versus diesel maintenance costs, service intervals of two years and as soon as you start doing the algorithms around the cost of ownership, you’ll start to see that serious fleet operators are going to be able to say, you know what, this is starting to make sense,” Chinappa said.

Ateco Group executive chair Neville Crichton said the eDeliver 7 van was a turning point for the business.

“This is the first LDV that’s actually designed, ground-up, as an electric car,” said Neville Crichton.

“We’ve got the pricing right, we think we’ve got the package incredibly good. And as Dinesh said, the volumes, I think you will be astounded,” he said.

The brand is set to offer the eDeliver 7 electric van range with two battery pack options, two wheelbase choices, and two roof height choices.

But the range will also expand later in 2024 or early in 2025 with the addition of a diesel model known as Deliver 7 – a move that will potentially offer those owner-operators who can’t justify the immediate expense of the electric van to get into the newer-generation model range.

A similar rollout will play out once more with the new electric ute, codenamed GST, to launch early in 2025, followed by a diesel version about 12 months later.

The pricing of the eDeliver 7 currently only has one rival in the market, the Mercedes-Benz eVito which it undercuts by more than $30,000 for the entry level model and around $25,000 for the top spec model.

Given its strong warranty protection, impressive driving performance and very good  driver interface and cockpit design, the eDeliver 7 presents some very attractive credentials for operators looking to switch to a zero emission van alternative, even though it costs more than its diesel powered rivals from Toyota, Hyundai and Ford. What it does offer is quite large operating cost savings.

LDV is offering a five year/160,000 km warranty and an eight year/250,000km battery pack warranty which should satisfy those who might be nervous about the LDV’s durability and longevity.

Along with that LDV is offering capped-price servicing for six years/90,000km, for a grand total of around $1165 a fraction of the service cost for diesel vans

LDV is also pointing to the reduced downtime as a result of the extended service intervals the eDeliver 7 offers, with some of its rivals needing  to be serviced every six months, resulting in valuable work time being lost while it’s at the dealer for maintenance.

The eDeliver 7 comes in three variants, short wheel base-standard roof, long wheelbase- standard roof and long wheelbase-high roof, with the choice of either a 77kW model or a larger 88 kW version.

The equipment levels are high in the eDeliver 7 with cloth seat trim across the three seat bench of the cabin, with the two outer seats ( driver and left hand passenger ) both heated  as is the steering wheel. It also boasts an impressive 12.3-inch touchscreen media system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as keyless entry and push-button start, automatic LED headlights, daytime running lights and tail-lights, rain-sensing wipers, 16-inch steel wheels, a full-size spare, tyre pressure monitoring,  and vinyl flooring in the cabin and full length rubber flooring  in the rear cargo area.

One disappointment is the  lack of  rear cargo accessibility options. Unlike many of its rivals  the LDV eDeliver 7 only offers a left hand side sliding door and  rear barn doors . There is no option  for a right hand sider sliding door to the cargo area, or for a rear hatch door, which may be a problem for some operators needing flexibility.

We had the chance for a brief drive in the LDV e Deliver 7  from LDV’s HQ at Ateco Australia’s facility in Lidcombe in Sydney inner’s west to a location on the North Shore  and  return, covering freeway, suburban and highway driving. It was the sort of drive that a van like this would be called upon to handle every day of the week and we came away pretty impressed with the performance, handling and overall comfort of the eDeliver 7.

The van  has a firm ride, which would probably benefit from a load on board, thanks partly to the  suspension set up, which includes leaf springs at the rear, and also probably due to its battery packs being underneath the floor giving it a low centre of gravity but quite a heavy mass down low over bumps and thumps. The LWB model was a bit nicer over bumps in unladen configuration, but as we said a  load on board would smooth it out, we reckon.

It has nice accurate steering  and is  very responsive to both steering input and throttle application and feels stable and well-mannered across the speed range.

The EV drivetrain is silent and smooth, powering the van to cruising pace with ease, despite not having a load, although I don’t think a load would worry the eDeliver 7 too much. This is a van so. The drumming noise from the empty rear load area is there, as it is in most vans but. Its not too bad and generally this is a quiet and civilised ride.

 LDV is quoting a charge time from 5-100per cent on domestic AC plug of eight hours for the 77kW model given it has an 11kW maximum AC charging capability, and for the 88kWh, having the same 11kW max charge capacity, it will take about 9hrs20mins.

Using a DC charger makes an enormous difference with the 77kWh model able to charge at up to 78kW  and the 88kW version can be charged at up to 90kW. That means that both the bog and small battery versions can be charged from 20 to 80 per cent in about 43 minutes.

The payload capacity of the eDeliver7 runs from 1175kg for the SWB standard roof up to 1350kg for the LWB high roof, so a pretty reasonable capability for a van in this class.

During our drive  the SWB version used an average of 22.2 KWh/100km, while the LWB model used around 23.7kWh/100km. That seems pretty good to us, but that is of course unladen so it would be higher if filled with freight or tools.

So, you might expect to see worse energy consumption than I did (SWB Low Roof 22.1kWh/100km) if you load it up to the max capacity.

The LWB High Roof had the bigger battery  and showed a range of just a shade under 400km when we climbed aboard and still had plenty of charge by the time we arrived back at LDV HQ.

The SWB model with the smaller battery had a range of about 350 km and  on the way out tot eh half-way point  performed admirably  with only about 50km wiped off the range for a 60 km city and suburban trot.

The near effortless delivery of power that comes from an electric driveline and the urgent torque delivery that comes when you push hard down on the throttle means that the eDelivery 7 is a delight to drive in city traffic . The van has three power modes, Eco, Normal and Power. Eco still delivers great urge under acceleration with good economy, normal is just a little bit better in terms of power and Power delivers quite amazing performance, but with the cost of a faster increase in power usage.

We think that Dinesh Chinappa is right, the eDeliver 7 presents a compelling case for those seeking an electric delivery or tradie van and at the price we reckon they will sell hundreds a month