New electric models from Maxus make debut at CV Show

George Barrow
August 31, 2021

The latest models in the Maxus electric van range, the e Deliver 3 and the
e Deliver 9, are on display at this year’s
CV Show. The previous model, the EV80, was one of the first OEM battery electric 3.5-tonne vans on the market when it went on sale in 2017, capturing significant sales as a result.

Mark Barrett, general manager of Harris Maxus, the Warrington-based importer of the Chinese vans made by SAIC and formerly known as LDV, said that the latest models were much improved on the EV80 and that despite stiffer competition from the European brands’ electric offerings, they would be of strong appeal to drivers.

“We have gone beyond buying a token trophy electric vehicle,” he said. “The electric works and it works well. So the product is now speaking for itself and the flexibility of the variety of battery options in the e Deliver 9 to match the range and payload is a big plus.”

With a maximum range of almost 220 miles, few van operators need have concerns about the e Deliver 9 coping with typical last-mile delivery routes, but if an operator does need to charge en route there is still lots of anxiety about the availability of public chargers.

“A lot of chargers have been designed around cars and we need to think about whether the chargers are 2m or 4m apart to future-proof them,” said Barrett. “Anyone operating an EV gets comfortable after the first few weeks when they know what it can and can’t do.”

While the price of EVs is still several times higher than that of equivalent diesels, the price of diesel vehicles is now increasing, said Barrett, as the cost of meeting ever stricter emissions standards rises and their expected life-span falls. “EVs are about double the price and the grants are getting smaller, but costs of electric vehicles will fall to balance that out,” Barrett said. “Maintenance is 50% to 70% less and it is more like 70% on stop-start operations. Mention the word ‘DPF’ to any fleet operator and you get a similar reaction from them all!

“Diesel fuel prices are creeping up and with cities like Birmingham and London charging more to enter, the lower total cost of ownership means the payback is well within five years.”

The ban on sales of new diesel and petrol vans up to 3.5 tonnes in 2030 has led to fears of a shortage of zero-emissions vehicles but Barrett is confident vehicle supply will keep pace with demand.

“The biggest concern for every manufacturer now is batteries,” he said. “Battery technology is accelerating at a rapid pace – SAIC has invested in a joint venture with CATL [the Chinese battery manufacturer that supplies Tesla] which now seems to be one of the best moves it has ever made. It gives us access to the latest batteries and management systems.

“We have 2,000 electric vans on order and we will have them before Christmas,” he added.

SAIC makes a full range of CVs and while it is developing hydrogen technology for the heavier trucks, it currently prefers batteries for light commercials.

About the Author

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George Barrow

George Barrow has been writing about nearly anything with wheels for the past 15 years, starting off his career in the car industry and ending up in commercial vehicles via a brief detour to cover technology, science and start-ups. Often found behind the wheel of a new product, his real interest lies in the business side of the automotive industry. George is the UK jury member of the International Van of the Year and International Pick-Up Award.

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