Volkswagen eCrafter (2019–)

Last updated 10 September 2018

Easy to drive, zero tailpipe emissions, 1.7 tonne payload limit, packed with useful tech.
Limited range of 107 miles, not available until late-2019.
Updated 1 September 2018
e-Crafter zero-emission van goes online

The e-Crafter was developed in parallel with models that have Euro6 diesel engines (TDI). The lithium-ion battery in the underbody enables full utilisation of the 2590 mm tall high-roofed van's cargo...

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Introduction

The Volkswagen eCrafter might look and drive like a standard van, but its mechanical bits are all powered by electricity. And this makes it a great option for businesses who want a large van for short runs or delivery work in a large town or city.

Obviously, with a maximum range of 107 miles, the Volkswagen eCrafter will not suit everyone. In fact, for the majority of operators, it will be a niche oddity. But Volkswagen is open about the fact that this is a van designed for delivery drivers. And here it makes a lot of sense.

At the business end of things, payloads range from 1.0 to 1.75 tonnes and gross vehicle weights (GVW) span from 3.5 to 4.2 tonnes. This means - with some basic training - you can drive the largest version of the eCrafter on a standard driving licence.

Like the standard Crafter, Volkswagen’s large van is easy to drive and use on a daily basis. The electric motor produces 136PS and 290Nm of torque, which is well-suited for shifting heavy loads at urban speeds. The motor pulls strongly between 15mph and 30mph and this means you can join a busy road with confidence. The motor does lose some of its spark as you head further afield, on a dual carriageway, with its top speed limited to 56mph.

For the most part, the eCrafter drives very much like a speed-capped 2.0 TDI with 102PS. The steering is light but provides enough feedback for the driver to get a feel of the van's grip levels. The eCrafter is also offered with a comprehensive array of driver aids, with automatic emergency braking, blind spot monitoring and a park pilot system that will self-steer the van into a space. This means you don't have to be an experienced commercial vehicle driver to feel at home behind the wheel.

Running on batteries, the eCrafter requires some forward planning to get the most out of it. A full charge from a 7.2kW wall box will take roughly five hours, but the battery can be boosted from zero to 80 per cent in just 45 minutes when hooked up to a 40kW fast charger. Volkswagen say there is no limit to the number of fast charges you can do over a single working day, which means you can time the battery boost to coincide with driver breaks to ensure the van spends the least amount of time off the road.

As an urban workhorse, the eCrafter is a capable and likeable large van. It boasts huge carrying capacity and its fast charge ability make it surprisingly versatile. There is a question mark around the support network, with Volkswagen yet to confirm how many dealers will be capable of servicing and maintaining electric vans. But as a first attempt, the eCrafter is an accomplished effort.

 

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