The last decade or two have really brought about significant changes to the automotive industry, we haven’t see such rapid developments since the invention of the motor car, and Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles are looking to extend that development just that little bit further, with the ABT e-Caddy, ABT e-Transporter and the e-Crafter, the latter of which is already on the streets of Germany.
While it seems that many of the bigger car companies are forging ahead with their electric or hybridised versions of their road cars, which of course makes sense, it seems that commercial vehicles are the unloved siblings that get the hand-me-downs once they’ve passed their prime.
Volkswagen are changing that.
The problem, up to now, has been that the commercial market is of course smaller, so any development costs take longer to recoup, and that the technology available usually meant losing load-carrying space, which of course is the raisond'être of any commercial vehicle.
What’s the use of a commercial vehicle that can’t carry as much as the competition?
Thankfully, the electric-vehicle technology develops at such a rate, that most of the associated problems can now be engineered out, but it does need a forward-looking company to understand the problems, the hardware and the solutions. Volkswagen are just that company.
Discounting concept vehicles (such as the beautiful electric mircrobus), Volkswagen are ready to hit the commercial market with three new e-commercials: ABT e-Caddy, ABT e-Transporter and the e-Crafter.
The ‘ABT’ part of the name comes from the ultra-successful ABT Sportsline company, based in Germany. They’re a motor racing and auto tuning company that have won numerous championships, including the top honours for the FIA Formula E, a purely electric race car championship.
While Volkswagen may not want their help turning an e-Caddy in to a Nurburgring slaying monster, their expertise when it comes to electric powertrain engineering and management, is vital to the success of the range of commercials.
This means that you’re not making a choice to be green, at the cost of functionality or performance.
The smallest offering from Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, it’s close to the original Caddy in terms of compactness and cargo capacity, and it’s designed for the smaller deliveries in tight city streets.
The legend that is the Transporter, will also be getting a 21st century makeover. It has two different options for the underfloor batteries (developed by ABT) so there’s no compromising on load area.
Already in use on the city streets in Germany, the e-Crafter has been designed for urban multi-drop drivers. It has the exact same payload and cargo capacity of the diesel version, and a 107-mile range.
Today’s electric vehicles are about as far removed from earlier versions, as they are from internal combustion. Yes, the whole charging time-vs-range debate still has some merit, but that’s something that doesn’t really impact urban or city driving.
The modern electric commercial can be charged from 0-80% in just 45 minutes, and the benefits are many: generous grants to help with the purchase of the vehicle, or install a charger, zero charges with the ultra-low emission zones, congestion charge free, zero road tax, low cost ‘refuelling’, lower servicing costs and of course, it’s good for the environment as well as your business.
Electric power is the way forward, most car manufacturers have now realised that, and the commercial vehicles aren’t far behind them. Get ahead of the curve and find out for yourself how Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles can change your business.