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Australia’s first electric ute is LDV eT60

LDV eT60 ute arrives to take first bite of Aussie EV fleet market – at a steep $93K

22 Nov 2022

WHILE LDV might not have the long history of bigger ute brands, it is making history with its eT60, which arrives this week as Australia’s first mass-manufactured electric dual-cab ute.


The 4x2-only, fleet-oriented LDV eT60 has also taken the podium as Australia’s most expensive mid-size ute at $92,990 (plus on-road costs) and more than double the price of the entry-level diesel 4x4 T60 Max Pro on which it is based, and which starts at $41,042 drive-away.


Australia’s first electrified ute arrives in a segment that accounts for one in five new vehicles sold in this country, but according to LDV general manager Dinesh Chinnappa, volume expectations are not high.


“We’re holding orders for about 50 of them, from all levels of government: local, state and federal.  But our expectations are modest. We are grateful that we are in the market; we’re first to market, we’re having these conversions with customers, we’re providing them with product.


“We see this as stage one, the next six to 12 months. These people who are in this last mile logistics infrastructure, the Amazons of this world, as they start dealing with the infrastructure issues, the driver issues, the charging issues. That has to happen. As we go through that process, the government will start to create more infrastructure, more charging.”


Mr Chinnappa said the Australian government should look to New Zealand (where LDV launched the eT60 earlier this year) for future EV legislation.


New Zealand introduced its Clean Car Discount in April, where for first registration new EVs are subsidised and new high-emissions internal combustion vehicles are heavily taxed. 


Meanwhile, for Australian buyers able to afford the $92,990 (plus on-road costs) price, the wait will not be too long in the scheme of electric vehicle delivery delays – although Mr Chinnappa described supply as “tight” due to LDV parent company SAIC “selling lots of them” globally.


“We’re predicting three to four months order to delivery time,” he said.


Standard equipment on the eT60  includes a urethane multi-function steering wheel, Bluetooth connectivity, rain-sensing windscreen wipers, six-way electrically-adjustable front seats, 10.25-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay connectivity (but not Android Auto) and air-conditioning.


It also has two USB ports, two 12v ports and a 220v outlet. Four colours are on offer: Blanc White, Jewel Blue, Lava Grey or Metal Black and the interior gas a black leatherette trim.


On the safety front, the eT60 has six airbags, anti-lock brakes, electronic brake assist, electronic brakeforce distribution, electronic stability control, rear parking sensors and reversing camera but no autonomous emergency braking (AEB), blind-spot monitoring or lane departure warning/intervention


ANCAP’s five-star safety score for the diesel T60 also specifically excludes this eT60 variant, so it remains rating.


The new ute has its permanent magnet synchronous electric motor unit incorporated in the rear axle and drives the rear wheels only. The motor delivers peak 130kW and 310Nm outputs and maximum speed is capped at 120km/h. 


An 88.55kWh lithium-ion battery offers a WLTP combined range of 330km and consumes charge at a claimed average of 21.3kWh per 100km. The battery pack can be charged via DC fast-charging in about 45 minutes from 20 to 80 per cent capacity, while an 11kW charger will charge the battery in approximately nine hours.


The eT60 is fitted with 17-inch alloy wheels and features the heavy-duty suspension set-up of its Pro sibling, with double independent wishbone at the front, a leaf spring live-axle rear and ventilated disc brakes all round.


The eT60 weighs 2300kg, and has a payload of 1000kg and a maximum braked towing capacity of 1000kg.


The new electric LDV ute comes with a five-year/160,000km vehicle warranty, an eight-year/160,000km battery warranty and five-year/130,000km roadside assistance membership. Servicing intervals are every 24 months or 30,000km, whichever comes first.


By comparison, the diesel-powered T60 Max has just had its warranty increased from five years/130,000km to seven-years/200,000km. The cheapest EV in Australia, the $44,990 (drive-away) MG ZS EV, has a seven year, unlimited-kilometre warranty for both vehicle and battery.


LDV does not offer a capped price or pre-paid service programme for any of its range.


The media was given a short 20-minute, 18km drive loop in the eT60. It was enough time to note that the eT60 has a very poor ride quality – its suspension compliance felt almost non-existent on rough secondary roads in the NSW Southern Highlands – and performance was lacklustre, no surprise given the heavy kerb mass.


While we not given the opportunity to adequately assess energy consumption or range, the eT60’s energy consumption display was showing a 29.5kWh average during our brief drive.


The interior felt very basic and had a melange of old-school analogue dials and digital screens.


A rotary drive dial on the centre console was a nice touch, except there was no ‘Park’ position (and therefore no park pawl in the transmission), meaning that the traditional pull-up handbrake had to be applied on exiting the vehicle to ensure it did not roll away.


Perhaps LDV could offer a set of wheel chocks as most aviators are familiar with to ensure safety when the eT60 is at rest.

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