Questions have been raised about Australia’s first electric ute amid claims the vehicle is not suitable for farmers and agricultural work.
Chinese manufacturer LDV’s eT60 has been hailed as Australia’s first pure electric dual cab ute and the first of its kind.
Selling for $92,990 plus on-road costs, the dual-cab, two-wheel drive ute has a 330-kilometre range on a single charge and one-tonne towing capacity.
While federal ministers Catherine King and Chris Bowen have been quick to jump on the eT60 bandwagon, the public reaction so far has been divided due to the ute’s limited range of 330km after a charge and whopping price tag.
Farming expert and research engineer for Farming Ahead magazine Ben White welcomed the arrival of the eT60 in Australia but believes its limitations may make it unsuitable for farms.
Australians are divided over the LDV eT60, Australia’s first all electric ute. Pictured with the vehicle is Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development minister Catherine King
‘We want to be able to drive through the paddocks, we want to be able to check stock, we want to be able to carry loads to and from town, so it comes back to that equivalence and being able to do that job we need it to do,’ he told the ABC.
‘We do big kilometres in Australia, probably more than anyone would do in Europe or the US, and range anxiety is a real thing.
‘There is a bit of anxiety and planning that builds into that, and that’s OK, but once the range grows to 700 or 800km, that will dissipate.’
Australian Automotive Dealer Association chief executive James Voortman agreed the ute’s limited range and massive price tag make it less attractive for farmers.
‘There’s the issue of distance and also the issue that a lot do have quite rugged terrain they have to negotiate on their properties, so the fact it’s not a 4WD could work against them,’ he told news.com.au.
‘A lot of farmers do have very capable 4WDs [already] so it’s something farmers do have to take into account when they are making a decision about whether to make the move to an electric vehicle.
Experts say the ute’s current limitations and whopping price tag make it unsuitable for farms and agricultural work
Similar concerns were raised when LDV Australia recently spruiked the eT60 on its Facebook page.
‘Useless for weeks of bush work,’ one man commented.
Another added: ‘330km range, pathetic. Imagine running a maintenance company with workers spending most of their day recharging the car.’
LDV states on its website the eT60 is aimed at large corporations, government and fleet businesses and private early adopters committed to emission reductions targets.
‘LDV Automotive is proud to have launched Australia’s first electric ute into the market,’ a spokesman told Daily Mail Australia.
‘This first LDV eT60 is designed for those with specific customer applications who’ve committed to reducing their emissions.
‘The electrification of Australia’s automotive market is a journey, with learnings from each model resulting in changes and improvements to future models.
The vehicle is currently being showcased across Australia by Solar Citizens, a community organisation committed to renewable energy and transport.
The organisation is leading calls for the federal government to overhaul vehicle emissions standards laws to create more choice in the EV market and unlock a supply of affordable electric vehicles, particularly in regional areas.
The dual-cab, two-wheel drive ute has a 330-kilometre range on a single charge and is priced at almost $93,000
Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development minister Catherine King is excited about the future of electric vehicle after checking out the eT60 at a recent roadshow event in regional Victoria.
‘Only 10 months ago the now deputy opposition leader told us there were no electric utes anywhere in the world,’ she said.
Thanks Solar Citzens for bringing your ute to Ballarat and showing the regions that there are EVs for us too.
The Albanese government wants 89 per cent of new car sales in Australia to be electric vehicles by 2030.
The LDV eT60 is currently being showcased across Australia by Solar Citizens. Pictured is minister Catherine King at a recent roadshow event in Ballarat in regional Victoria
Energy Minister Chris Bowen recently came under fire for ‘showing off’ the Chinese-made electric ute
He was pictured inside an LDV eT60 electric alongside Transgrid CEO Brett Redman, after the company announced it would be trialling the $90,000 vehicle in its fleet.
‘The whole thing is about, ‘oh, we’re bringing Aussie manufacturing back’, and in the next breath, they say, ‘Here’s a $90,000 ute made in China’,’ 2GB breakfast host Ben Fordham said.
‘I can’t see that many people lining up and saying, ‘I’m going to spend $90,000 on an electric ute made in China when I get a Ford Ranger or a Toyota Hilux for $50,000′.’
The managing editor of Drive.com, Trent Nikolic said that while the ute has a range of about 330km, in reality, for many tradies it would only be about 150km given how much they load up their vehicles with gear.
‘I think it’s less about the price at the moment, which is ridiculous and more about the capability
‘LDV quotes the range of that vehicle as 330km. If that battery were in a car, it would be about 500, because the ute is about three tonnes.
‘Then if you go anywhere near the vehicle’s tow rating or load capacity, you halve it [the vehicle’s range].
‘They don’t work for people in rural areas out of the urban fringe, people who tow a lot of weight or people who live on farms.
‘The commercial sector, utes, trucks, busses and things like that, they’re the worst- case scenario to put forward an argument for electric vehicles.
‘Vehicles that are constantly on the road and are rarely parked up and left idle, they’re no good for electric vehicles at all.
Fordham said the pitch for electric vehicles would be more suited to those living and working in the city as Aussies in rural areas require a vehicle that can travel long distances without needing to be recharged.
‘There’s no way in the world that Anthony Albanese and Chris Bowen will be able to meet their target of 89 per cent of new car sales being electric by 2030.’
Mr Nikolic agreed and forecasts that Australia will have a 30 per cent uptake of electric vehicles by 2030 because they’re not suitable for many carbuyers.
‘You’ve got to have the money to buy one first, you’ve got to have the ability to charge it at home and you’ve got to ideally not be relying on public charging infrastructure at the moment, because there’s not enough of it yet.
Mr Nikolic also questioned why electric vehicle battery packs weren’t being manufactured in Australia.
‘Whenever I say to electric vehicle evangelists, ‘What about the stuff we’re digging out of the ground to make the battery packs?’, their first reframe is, ‘Oh yeah, lithium is common, it’s everywhere’. Second one is ‘we’ve got a lot of it in Australia’.’
‘My response to that is, ‘Why aren’t we building battery packs here?’ The battery pack is the most expensive component of an electric vehicle. There’s no reason we couldn’t be building that here.’