EVs for tradies: What's coming and when?
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Powerful, practical and popular, utes are a dominant feature on New Zealand’s roads, whether in the city or the country. And vans are the workhorses of our light industries, doing the hard yards across our cities for the trades, delivery and cargo.
Traditionally these vehicles have had relatively high emissions, and with feebates now applying to most utes and many vans, there’s now a much stronger appetite for more economical and electrified light commercial options. The first electric ute is due to arrive later this year, but we already have four choices for those in the market for an electric van.
LDV eDeliver3 and eDeliver9
LDV has been a leader in electric light commercial, and the eDeliver 3 has been available since 2020. An entry-level battery-electric van that can carry up to 900kg, it’s priced from $63,538 including GST, which helps explain why an impressive 74 had already sold in the first five months of 2022.
The 52.5kWh electric battery claims 344km range from a single charge, and a DC fast charge from 5-80 per cent in 45 minutes. The eDeliver 9 is the big brother to the 3, with three battery options up to 88.5kWh, and a range up to 353km, with a charge to 80 per cent in 40 minutes.
There are short wheel base, long-wheel base and cab chassis option, and new eDeliver 9 vans come with a three-year or 100,000km warranty and an eight-year/160,000km battery warranty. Prices start from $75,990 including GST.
Renault Kangoo EV
Europe’s best-selling electric van, the Kangoo can carry up to four cubic metres, or 620kg. Thanks to its automatic gearbox, the Kangoo is a super-comfortable drive in the light commercial class. Features also include rear parking sensors, cruise control and an impressive range of safety features.
Its 33kWh battery has a range of 230km— as well as a five-year warranty. The Kangoo is priced from $74,990 including GST and eligible for a Clean Car Discount of up to $8625.
Ford Transit Custom PHEV
The Transit van has long been a trusted workhorse for local businesses, and the new Custom Transit plug-in electric hybrid continues that tradition.
Its 13.6kWh battery takes around three hours to charge and provides a pure EV range up to 41km, and more than 500km total range using the 1.0-litre EcoBoost petrol engine range extender.
The 4.3 cubic metre load space means plenty of room in the back and the range of comfort and safety features make this a versatile commercial vehicle for a wide range of industries. Priced from $89,990 including GST, in the first five months of this year 21 Transit PHEVs were sold.
When will EV utes arrive in New Zealand?
Utes are among New Zealand’s most popular vehicles, and interest in low-emissions options has been at an all-time high since the feebates came into effect. So far demand is outstripping supply, but one manufacturer is already taking orders.
LDV will be first to market: you can already put down a (refundable) deposit for the EV T60 that’s set to arrive in a few months.
LDV claims a range around 325km, with one-tonne towing capacity. Prices aren’t yet available but early indications are that at least one model will qualify for a clean car rebate.
Perhaps more appealing to the wider market will be the hybrid version of the Toyota Hilux, one of New Zealand’s best-selling vehicles, although Toyota has indicated this won’t be available locally until 2023. Toyota recently teased its electric ambitions with a full EV version concept vehicle.
As for another top-selling model, the Ford Ranger, it seems a PHEV version is being tested internationally, but timing is still TBC. The fully electric F150 Lightning went into production in April, set to be released soon in the US. But Ford already has over 160,000 pre-orders and has closed retail orders for this year, so NZ will be waiting a while.
Supply should increase rapidly
With so much interest in electric vehicles of all kinds, from markets across the globe, manufacturers are pushing hard to get BEV and PHEV commercial vehicles into market. Production is being hampered by supply chain difficulties, and New Zealand will be low on the list of markets for launch, but over time it seems a certainty that electric utes and vans will become standard for all light commercial traffic.