British Businesses Begin Testing Electric VW Van

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Although Volkswagen’s upcoming electric edition of the Crafter has yet to go on sale, early trials of this zero-emissions van have got under way this month, with firms in the UK amongst the first to put it through its paces.

Transport Engineer reports that this scheme will run for six months and will ensure that fleet operators are able to put the e-Crafter through its paces in a range of scenarios, which will help to improve the final design when it is put into production.

The high-capacity e-Crafter will be able to cover 160 kilometres, which is equivalent to just under 100 miles, on a full charge. On average, it is expected that the vans taking part in the trial will cover between 40 and 60 miles each day as they complete delivery and distribution work in towns and cities across the UK and Europe.

The load volume of this electric van is exactly the same as that of its diesel-powered counterparts, hitting a maximum of 10.7 cubic metres and ensuring that no compromises need to be made. This has been achieved by mounting the batteries beneath the floor, which is a tactic that a number of other modern EVs adopt.

As well as generating no harmful emissions, the e-Crafter is kitted out with the latest safety features, including autonomous emergency braking, a reversing camera and parking assist capabilities.

Comfort levels for the driver and passengers are enhanced thanks to integrated climate control and even a set of heated seats, which should make it a pleasant place to spend the working day at any time of the year.

A modern infotainment and navigation system is also included, offering smartphone compatibility and a range of media and communication-focused functions.

Up front a set of LED lights with illuminate the road ahead, making the van visible during the day and night. As such, it represents an impressively modern package in its own right before its electric nature is even taken into account.

The latest edition of the Crafter has achieved critical acclaim since its launch last year and is also used as a platform for other vans, most notably in the guise of the TGE from MAN Truck and Bus. VW will be hoping that its initial electric van effort will strike a chord with customers, although it is not the only company to be pursuing this market segment at the moment.

2018 will also see the trials of Ford’s hybrid Transit van continue in the UK, blending the improved range of a diesel engine with the eco-friendliness of electric motors. Meanwhile, all-electric models like the LDV EV80 will stimulate even more competition, meaning that the e-Crafter will by no means be the only option available when it finally goes on sale.

With a release scheduled for September this year, VW’s electric hybrid will in part be defined by these British trials in the hands of real businesses and not just according to assumptions made by the manufacturer without input from its customers.

Categories: Volkswagen / Crafter /

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