As featured in Professional Builder Magazine
The new Maxus T90EV; A ground–breaking all new electric pick–up truck maysound somewhat illogical, but Maxus believes it can help your business to live long and prosper!
It’s a pick–up Jim but not as we know it…. not as we know it! Yes, Maxus has boldly gone where no other LCV manufacturer has gone before, certainly as far as the UK is concerned, with the introduction of its Double Cab T90EV. SAIC, the massive Chinese automotive enterprise, has impressive form in the electric van market of course, with its eDeliver 3 and its bigger brother the eDeliver 9, which are available through Dublin–based importer, Harris Group. However, whilst these vehicles are clearly up against some pretty stiff competition, this pick-up offering is – for the time being at least – one of a kind.
The big question, of course, is are they doing it because they can or is there a genuine market for a vehicle which to all intents and purposes outwardly looks like any standard pick up but is clearly compromised by the same restrictions currently facing all electric commercial vehicles? Namely limited range and reduced carrying and towing capacity? The reliance on a rear wheel drive only option at this stage will also raise eyebrows, although Maxus will argue with some justification that most pick-ups spend the majority of their life on the open road, not traversing the side of a mountain.
Nevertheless, an all-encompassing 4WD version of the TV90 is very much on the cards in the near future, says Maxus, who on past experience are not afraid to listen and then act upon feedback from potential customers. A case in point is the payload capacity, which on some earlier prototypes seen at the CV Show in 2022 were initially limited to a very disappointing 740kg. Happy to report that this has now been upped to a much more respectable 1,000kg.
As far as options are concerned, right now it’s still a case of you pays your money – a not insignificant £50,000 (although there are some incentives to lighten the financial burden a little) and don’t really take your choice, because currently only one trim and one size are available. Optional extras are also limited, but it is possible to add a hard top for the load bay.
It has to be said that our inaugural voyage of discovery encompassing some 160 miles from the Harris HQ just outside Dublin to the magnificently appointed Ashford Castle on the far western side of the Irish Republic was always going to be something of a challenge rangewise. That’s given the predominance of high-speed toll roads stretched out before us as well as the obvious lack of recharging facilities in this very rural part of the Republic. And that was before the arrival of an unseasonal dousing of the white stuff, and below freezing temperatures, which further compromised our ability to complete the journey in one hit.Official figures put the range of the T90 EV at 205 miles but, on days like these, 150 is probably more realistic and, of course, our load consisted of nothing more than two well upholstered motoring journalists. Even Scotty himself would have been hard pressed to find us any more extra power on this occasion.
Like the eDeliver 9 medium sized van, the Maxus pick up shares the same battery combination comprising 150kW motor powered by an 88.5kW battery which suggests that, in actual driving performance terms, it is more than up to the job. At the same time fast charging is also possible, up to 80 per cent in around 45 minutes, in fact.
Unlike the other EV’s we have driven recently, there is no discernible surge of power when you pull away, just an initial whirring sound to indicate that this is not your conventional LCV, although the driving experience is pretty straightforward. Pick–ups in general tend to be fairly bumpy affairs due to the nature of the uncompromising suspension set up to cope with loading, but the even weight distribution of the batteries may actually help to keep the TV90 nicely settled on the open road, and the high winds on the more exposed elements of the route were not a problem.
There are three modes to choose from via a rotary dial – Normal, Eco and Power, which are engaged by pressing two buttons. It wouldn’t be a Far Eastern vehicle without some quirks, of course, and it is hard to escape the feeling that the vehicle is fundamentally set up for more exotic foreign destinations. There is an old-fashioned key to start up and the windscreen wipers and indicators are on the opposite side to pretty much any other vehicle we have ever driven. We never did quite crack that one on more than four hours of driving although in our defence the wipers did see a lot more action than normal.
The infotainment system is packed with features but somewhat slow and confusing for the uninitiated and, unusually, is slightly angled away from the driver. The interior is perfectly functional, all hardwearing fabrics and solid plastics suggesting that the target audience is very much business operators and tradespeople, rather than the weekend leisure warrior.
In keeping with all Maxus commercial vehicles, the new EV pick up comes with a five-yearwarranty. Emphasizing its total commitment to the full electrification of its complete commercial range the company are operating a £1,000 scrappage scheme and will throw in a free charging point at your home or workplace. As Doctor Spock himself so pointedly explained: “Change is after all the essential process of all existence.”
For further information on the Maxus T90 EV visit T90EV – saicmaxus.co.uk.