Volkswagen contributed to the strong electric vehicle theme at the CV Show by giving a UK debut to its eCrafter before sending the model on trial with a customer.
Four UK customers are taking part in the tests: Gatwick Airport, Heathrow Airport, City of London Corporation and the London Borough of Southwark, with VW promising to take feedback on board before the van goes on sale in September.
Volkswagen’s head of sales operations James Douglas explained this meticulous approach by saying: “Volkswagen is not a brand to bring a product to market and then test it.”
The eCrafter is aimed at customers whose vehicles cover between around 40 and 60-plus miles per day, sometimes involving many starts and stops along the way.
VW claims these parameters apply to 85% of the trips made in an urban setting according to its analysis of more than 210,000 driving profiles with over 1,500 customers.
The brand says the eCrafter has been tailored for city operations, with its 100kW power output, quoted New European Driving Cycle range of around 100 miles and top speed limited to 56mph.
The standard eCrafter has a load volume of 10.7m3, and a payload of 1.0t – although the brand says a load-lugging ability of up to 1.75t will be available in the line-up. The van can be fast charged to 80% battery capacity in 45 minutes and fully charged from a wallbox in 5.5 hours.
Douglas welcomed the imminent raising of the permissible weight limit of electric vans from 3.5 to 4.25t that holders of standard driving licences can operate as the eCrafter can weigh 4.2t with a payload on-board.
“It’s vital for operational feasibility,” he said. “There is always a need for maximizing possibility. A balance needs to be struck between weight, payload and range.”