For the uninitiated, “commercial vehicles” aren’t cars that star in TV ads. What the term actually refers to are any vehicles designed to transport multiple passengers or carry goods, and they typically come in the form of a van or a ute/pick-up truck.
There has, as you’ll have noticed, been a huge shift toward electric vehicles and hybrids of late, as the world moves away from diesel and petrol-powered vehicles that cause harmful carbon emissions, and while that has mostly impacted the passenger car segment, EV commercial vehicles have also begun to emerge.
With some countries in Europe already focusing on getting all diesel-powered vehicles off the road, which includes many commercial vehicles, the pressure to shift to zero-emission power plants is on.
Along with government fleets, corporate fleets – which includes any company that uses the humble delivery van as its main form of transportation – make up more than 50 per cent of new car sales, which means the introduction of EVs could have a hugely beneficial impact on the sector in terms of emissions and savings in fuel.
A number of vehicle manufacturers are planning to release electric commercial vehicles in Australia from 2022 onwards, with one – Renault’s Kangoo Z.E. compact van – already available on the Australian market.
There’s no word yet on hybrid vans hitting Down Under, but a number of hybrid utes are expected to be rolled out in the not-too distant future to join the ranks of commercial electric cars.
Here are the commercial electric vehicles expected to be for sale in Australia soon.
SEA 300 EV
The SEA 300 has an unladen driving range of 300km.
Melbourne EV company SEA Electric, now based in California, has begun production on locally produced electric light and medium-duty trucks, ranging from 4.5 tonne through to 22.5 tonne three axle trucks. the SEA 300 has an unladen driving range of 300km, and there are a number of payload, wheelbase and body-length options. The company also has the SEA Hino FE EV (unladen driving range 250km), and the SEA 500 EV medium-duty truck (variants come with an unladen driving range of either 200km or 250km).
Renault Kangoo Z.E.
Launched in Australia in 2020, the Kangoo Z.E. (“Zero Emission”), from French car manufacturer Renault, is the first electric van to be made available in Australia. And even though it’s still relatively new to the marketplace, the compact van is already getting a rebranding, and will be known as the “Kangoo E-Tech” from 2022 onwards, when it arrives in the final quarter of the year. The 45kW battery will provide around 300km of driving range, up from the 200km offered by the Z.E. Inside, 3.9 cubic-metres of space will be able to take up to 600kg of payload.
The T3 is currently available in in limited numbers.
Made by Chinese car company BYD (“Build Your Dreams”), the small two-seater T3 van is currently available in Australia in limited numbers at a price that currently makes it Australia’s cheapest EV. A 50.3kWh battery provides 300km of driving range, and the 70kW/180Nm electric motor can push it to a top speed of 100km/h. Cargo space is 3.8 cubic-metres, and the maximum payload is 700kg. An electric ute from BYD is also in the works.
The Cybertruck might not make it to Australia.
The company named after famed inventor Nikola Telsa has been hyping up its pointy, futuristic-looking pick-up truck for what feels like forever, and that’s how long Australian drivers may have to wait to see one in person. Or close to it. The latest rumblings suggest the Cybertruck might not be sold in Australia at all, even though Telsa is still taking deposits for the car. It’s a shame if it never arrives, as the Cybertruck’s specs are impressive: 800km of driving range, a 6.35-tonne towing capacity, and the ability to go from 0-97km/h in 2.9 seconds. Even in the rest of the world, it’s unlikely to hit public roads before 2023.
The E-Transit will be Ford Australia’s first electric vehicle.
Ford’s first-ever electric van will arrive in Australia in mid-2022, with a 68kWh battery offering around 317km of driving range. Mid-roof and high-roof variants will have 11.3 and 12.4 cubic metres of cargo capacity respectively, with both coming with a considerable maximum payload of 1616kg.
Mercedes-Benz eVito, eVito Tourer and EQV
The eVito Tourer will be sold alongside the internal combustion Valente.
Mercedes-Benz is going large by introducing not one, but three electric vans in 2022: the mid-size eVito panel van, an eVito Tourer (basically an electric version of its Valente van, with 360km driving range), and the EQV van, which has a 356km driving range and a top speed of 160km/h. Another electric van, the eSprinter, will arrive by 2024.
The much anticipated R1T will arrive locally in 2024.
Although an Australian release won’t be until at least 2024, this powerhouse truck from American start-up Rivian will come with a 180kWh battery and driving range in excess of 500km, as well as a five-tonne towing capacity.
Toyota Hilux EV
Electric and hybrid power could be coming to the HiLux.
Although not confirmed by Toyota yet, both an EV and hybrid version of its popular Hilux ute are heavily rumoured to be in the works.
ACE Cargo, V1 Transformer and Yewt
The ACE X1 Transformer is several vehicles in one.
Aussie start-up Ace is set to offer three light commercial vehicles in 2022: the modular V1 Transformer, which comes as a van or a ute (215-258km driving range at partial load, and maximum payload of 1100kg), the Cargo compact van, and the Yewt compact ute (both with 150-200km driving range at partial load, and maximum payload of 500kg).
Read the full article at Cars Guide published on February 3, 2022.