Australians might finally be able to buy an electric ute after the eT60 went on sale in New Zealand from SAIC Motor subsidiary LDV, and the expectation is that Australia will be next.
LDV in New Zealand already have a handful of electric options available including two electric delivery vans and the new eT60 ute, whereas there are no current LDV electric offerings in Australia.
Given the recent political landscape – which ensured that car manufacturers looked askance at Australia and prevented them from introducing their electric options here – this is of no real surprise.
However, with a new Labor government installed and growing demand for EVs, the recent launch of the eT60 in New Zealand might herald a launch across the Tasman later this year, or early next year.
This is the suggestion according to Dinesh Chinnappa, general manager of LDV in Australia.
“We are endeavouring to have the LDV eT60 in Australia late this year or early next year, once right-hand-drive production commences,” Chinnappa told Drive.
“While Australian timing and pricing are yet to be confirmed, we are very excited about the future rollout of electric LDV vehicles.”
The Driven reached out to Dinesh Chinnappa regarding his comments, and he confirmed it is LDV’s “intention to bring the eT60 to market late this year or early next year. At this stage this is not 100% locked in but we are working on it. We believe that it is more likely to happen than not happen.”
As for what the eT60 would be called when it arrives on Australia’s shores, Chinnappa simply explained that “naming protocols have not been finalised at this time.”
The LDV eT60 would be the first electric ute to land in Australia – just as it has been in New Zealand. Boasting an 88.5kWh battery and a real-wheel-drive permanent magnet synchronous motor, the eT60 offers power of 130kW and maximum torque of 310Nm.
Rated for a payload of 750kg in its 1,188-litre tray, a tow rating of 1,500kg, and bringing with it its own 2,300kg, the extra capacity in the battery is needed for the 325km of range (WLTP) the LDV eT60 is rated for – though this can be cut in half depending on what you are towing.
Fast charging also allows you to charge up to 80% in only 40 minutes when using a DC charger.
In New Zealand, the LDV eT60 is selling for $NZ79,990 drive-away, which converts to around $A72,300, and would make the first Australian electric ute somewhat more expensive than its petrol and diesel peers.
Joshua S. Hill is a Melbourne-based journalist who has been writing about climate change, clean technology, and electric vehicles for over 15 years. He has been reporting on electric vehicles and clean technologies for Renew Economy and The Driven since 2012. His preferred mode of transport is his feet.