Volkswagen’s electric van – the eCrafter – is to make its UK debut at the Commercial Vehicle Show at the NEC in Birmingham from 24-26 April, ahead of real-world testing beginning with UK customers at the start of May.
The first test vehicles were handed over to a group of major European customers at Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles’ headquarters in Hannover in December. By allowing the vehicle to undergo tests with selected fleet operators, VW says it will be able to incorporate findings and learnings into the final design and production version of the zero-emission van.
Four UK customers are taking part in the tests: Gatwick Airport, Heathrow Airport, City of London Corporation and the London Borough of Southwark. John Hole, Fleet Manager at Gatwick Airport, said: “We are delighted to be able to test the eCrafter ahead of launch and interested to see how the vehicle performs in everyday conditions and operations. Sustainable transport is an important focus for Gatwick across our entire business, including alternative fuelled vans and it is great to see such innovation in the supply chain.”
VW says the eCrafter was designed in collaboration with customers – in particular those whose vehicles cover between 70 and 100 km per day, sometimes involving many starts and stops. These parameters apply to around 85 per cent of the trips made in an urban setting according to analysis of more than 210,000 driving profiles with over 1,500 customers. VW says the eCrafter has been tailored to typical city operations with its 100 kW power output, range of around 160 km and top speed limited to 90 kph.
The eCrafter’s lithium-ion battery is completely integrated into the underbody, meaning the standard vehicle’s entire cargo volume (10.7 m3) is fully usable. A maximum payload of between 1.0 and 1.75 tonnes is available. At a CCS charging station supplying the battery can be charged to 80 per cent in just 45 minutes. From a wallbox, charging time to 100 per cent is around 5.5 hours.
The eCrafter will be available to left-hand drive markets in Europe in September 2018, once it has been extensively tested by customers in practice and made fully ready for the market. UK and right-hand drive introduction is currently planned for 2020-21.