Published on January 10th, 2019 | by Jake Richardson0
VW Commercial e-Crafter Electric Cargo Van Makes UK Debut
January 10th, 2019 by Jake Richardson
The electric VW e-Crafter commercial van made its UK debut in December at the Milton Keynes EV Experience Centre. The 3.5 ton cargo van has 107 miles of range and uses a 35 kWh lithium-ion battery, which can be charged to 80% in 45 minutes or so. The e-Crafter was made for craftspeople (men and women), couriers, and for last-mile applications. It was reported the top speed has been limited to 55 mph, and that typically in urban settings such cargo vans may be driven 40-60 miles a day with many stops. Replacing older diesel vans with all-electric ZEV versions would obviously be very helpful in reducing unhealthy air pollution in cities. Kate Thompson, Head of Press and Public Relations at VW Commercial Vehicles UK, answered some questions for CleanTechnica.
1. What is the EV Experience Centre in Milton Keynes and what is it for?
The EV Experience Centre was the UK’s first brand neutral centre dedicated to electric vehicles. Funded through a partnership with Go Ultra Low and complementing Milton Keynes’ status as an Ultra Low City, the centre’s aim is to provide free education and advice about electric and plug-in vehicles. Not only can the team there inform visitors about the different electric vehicles currently available and coming to the market, but they also offer advice on charging and infrastructure, as well as answering questions to allow customers to make informed choices. They also offer test drive opportunities in a number of different electric cars.
2. Why did the e-Crafter debut there?
The e-Crafter has been seen at a number of motor shows already and was in the UK for some limited test drives with UK media. As Volkswagen already has a relationship with the EV Centre we decided it would be a good opportunity to get the vehicle in front of an appropriate audience by placing it at the Centre. We’d normally actually get it inside, but due to its size it was in one of their dedicated spaces outside!
3. What were the results of the debut?
A number of people beyond the media were able to see and learn about the new vehicle – as well as receive advice from EV experts from the centre. I don’t yet have any empirical results on Van Centre or website enquiries as a result, but there was also social media activity around it.
4. Who is the target audience for the e-Crafter?
Initially we have been targeting those fleets who operate in inner city areas. In international trials with LHD vehicles four UK fleets used an e-Crafter for a six month trial period – City of London, Southwark Council and Heathrow and Gatwick Airports.
5. How much interest has it received so far?
It’s received a large amount of attention from a variety of fleets. We have a ‘Keep Me Informed’ form on our website to which has nearly 2000 people have signed up.
6. When will the price and warranty details be released?
We don’t yet have a precise date for this but expected to be this year.
7. Where is the left-hand drive version available in Europe currently?
I believe Germany, Norway, and France.
8. Four UK fleets have been testing the e-Crafter. What have they learned so far?
The trials were a great learning experience for both Volkswagen and the fleets themselves. They were extremely successful with any initial reservations from the operators over range, power, capacity, quickly dispelled.