The first e-Crafter electric vans have been handed to customers by Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles.
The zero-emission van is being run in parallel by customers in Great Britain, Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden, who will be testing the vans in everyday use until mid-2018.
Gatwick Airport is one of four UK fleets that will be taking part.
Dr Eckhard Scholz, chairman of the board of management of Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles said: “We have developed the new e-Crafter with our customers and for our customers. We are therefore now integrating selected fleet operators into an initial customer phase so that their findings in daily operations with the vehicles can flow into the final design of the zero-emission van.”
Volkswagen said the fleets taking part in the trial have vehicles covering between 43 and 62 miles per day, sometimes involving hundreds of stops and starts every day.
Volkswagen said 85% of the trips are made in an urban setting, and added the e-Crafter has been tailored for city operations, with its 100 kW power output, range of around 100 miles and top speed limited to 55mph.
The e-Crafter’s lithium-ion battery is completely integrated into the underbody, meaning the cargo volume of 10.7m3 is fully usable.
It has a loading width of 1,380mm, loading height of 1,861mm, and the maximum payload is between 1.0 and 1.75 tonnes depending on the version.
At a charging station supplying 40 kW (direct current), the battery, with a capacity of 35.8 kWh, can be charged to 80% within 45 minutes.
At a regular plug the battery can be charged to 100% within 5 hours 20 minutes, which would generally be done overnight.
Like diesel-engined Crafters, the e-Crafter will launch with standard equipment including Park Assist, automatic climate control, heated seats and sat-nav.
The e-Crafter will be available from September 2018.
By Sean Keywood