LDV has given us Australia’s first fully electric ute, the eT60. It’s been described as a “seminal moment in Australia’s automotive history as we mark a turning point in the electrification of commercial vehicles.” I want to like it because I drive a ute and I’m excited about the future of EVs in Australia. But as a ute, the eT60 is fairly underwhelming.
So what exactly is the eT60 missing? Well, unfortunately, it’s missing most of the things that make utes appealing to the average Aussie. We love our utes here in the land down under and many of us need our ute to be a true workhorse. Something that will go from workday to weekend. Ideally, it needs to be 4WD, boast enough grunt to tow a trailer and carry a load and have plenty of space in the tray.
Sadly, the eT60 just doesn’t do this. To be fair, this vehicle is designed to appeal to large corporates, government and fleet businesses. You know, the kind of entities who’ve committed to emission reduction targets. But, I guess I was hoping for something a little more appealing to the average Aussie ute enthusiast.
What does the eT60 offer?
Designed to be the business workhorse of corporate fleets, the eT60 features the same 88.55kWh lithium-ion battery proven in the eDeliver 9. Range is reportedly around 330 kilometres. With DC fast charging, the battery can go from 20 – 80% in around 45 minutes but if you only have access to an 11kw charger, it will take around 9 hours.
The permanent magnet synchronous motor delivers 130kW of power and 310Nm via the rear wheels. Regenerative braking is a bonus and the eT60 consumes on average, 21.3kWh per 100km.
Moving away from the EV side of things, the eT60 rides on 17-inch alloy wheels with heavy-duty suspension. This means leaf springs in the rear, double independent wishbone up front and ventilated disc brakes all-round.
Weighing in at 2,300kg, it does look pretty good with an aggressive stance, side steps and a chrome sports bar. Inside has all the mod-cons you expect from a new vehicle such as a multi-function steering wheel, rain-sensing windscreen wipers, a 10.25-inch touchscreen, air-con and Bluetooth connectivity. Likewise, it has all the standard safety features we would expect from a modern vehicle including multiple airbags, a reverse camera, a rear parking sensor, electronic stability control with emergency brake assist, hill start assist, hill descent control and roll movement intervention.
The warranty is not too slouchy either with a 5-year/160,000km vehicle warranty and an 8-year/160,000km battery warranty. This is supported with 5-years/unlimited kilometre roadside assistance.
So, what’s missing?
4WD capability is noticeably missing from the eT60. This is surprising because, given the name, I guess I expected the eT60 to basically be the EV version of the T60 Max. It is not. The eT60 is rear-wheel-drive only and with a single electric motor riding low on the rear axle, it’s not suited to any off-road shenanigans.
When comparing the eT60 to the T60 Max, you’ll notice a massive price difference. It’s a given that EVs will cost more than their petrol or diesel counterparts, but with a starting RRP of $92,990, you can get two of its cousins in the T60 Max for the price of this EV. You could even get two Tritons or if we’re comparing 2WDs, nearly three Toyota Workmates. I do expect to pay more for an EV variant but I don’t think anyone is expecting to pay double.
Towing capacity is a major downside for campers. I mean, we already know that towing with an EV is going to be a problem with the reduction of driving range but sadly, the eT60 has a maxed braked towing capacity of only 1,000kg.
With max power of 130kW and max torque of 310Nm, it’s not really boasting a lot of grunt either. When it comes to utes, torque is king as for many buyers, straight-line speed isn’t high on their list of priorities. Ute buyers tend to want to maximise payloads and braked towing capacity. It’s not the worst, but surely it could be better?
As the first to market electric ute in Australia, I was hoping it would come out a banger. Sadly, Australia’s first ute didn’t do this. However, it is a huge stepping stone in the right direction and hopefully, it won’t be too long before we see an EV ute that lives up to our somewhat high expectations of what an EV ute should be.