Volkswagen e-Crafter Electric Van: Test Drive Review


Whistle at this work truck.

The Volkswagen e-Crafter is something of a strange beast. With a body borrowed from a vehicle powered by an internal combustion engine and a soul (electric drivetrain) borrowed from the VW e-Golf, this work-a-day Frankenstein is able to conduct its business about the city without attracting much attention. It blends in like a regular VW Crafter, but without the clatter of a diesel engine.

And that’s what it’s been doing in small numbers — about 40 — since January when the first batch was put into service. Now, though, after months of real-world testing, it’s about to go officially on sale and so Autocar has had a crack behind the wheel. According to its reporting, it’s up for any job its diesel equivalent is, as long as that work is in the city. Range is decent for in-town running around, at 107 miles, but with only a 56 mile per hour computer-limited top speed, it’s not cut out for highway usage. It can DC fast charge to 80 percent in 45 minutes given a 40 kW charging station.

The good news is its 100 kW (134 horsepower) motor with 214 pound-feet of torque has plenty of grunt and can get the boxy beast up to speed quite briskly. Its 35-kWh battery is hidden beneath the floor and so doesn’t impinge on its 10.7 cubic meters (377.9 cubic feet) of carrying capacity.

The dash and controls are pretty much the same except the fuel gauge now indicates remaining energy in the battery and it also lets you know how much energy is being recouped upon braking. The driving experience is improved. Besides the added pep and lack of gear shifting, the regenerative braking is strong enough for a mostly one-pedal experience.

Its weakest point might be the up-front price. At 63,000 Pounds ($81, 420), it’s significantly more dear than the base 37,157-Pound ($48,019) ICE version. While the total cost of ownership is certain to be much more in line with the original, especially in London where it’s not subject to the congestion charge, it’s still bound to make prospective buyers pull out their calculators.

Source: Autocar

Categories: Trucks, Volkswagen


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12 Comments on "Volkswagen e-Crafter Electric Van: Test Drive Review"

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Yeah. . given no competition, really – only the price will limit the sales for inner city use.

. . but you can buy a LOT of diesel for the price difference.. so it depends on how much the toll roads, congestion charges and so on add up. I know they will get free charging (usually slow) in most cities in Norway.. but still, the price is high.

I’ll wait to see how tempting the minibus convertion will be. Maybe over a 10 year period, it will be profitable?
. . doing som calculations.. yeah.. I don’t drive that much, so at best it will take 10 years.. with my current driving distance, and toll road chargers. . it’s closer to 16 years.

More then $60K = I’m probably not going to buy it. Unless they stuff it with equi.. no.. too expensive.
60K with a faster fast charge and a bit more energy dense battery.. in other words.. I’ll wait a few more years.

The id buzz is on MEB, not a conversion

Completely unclear why it’s so expensive… The non-battery BEV drivetrain bits should cost less than the deleted ICE drivetrain (Diesel engine & transmission are presumably somewhat heavier-duty than a passenger car’s), so how come a 35kWh battery adds $33K? (even after discounting UK VAT, it’s still ~US$28K). After all, the body/chassis and most other non-drivetrain systems are presumably fully amortized due to the ICE version.

The astronomic price is because:

A. MB hasn’t the capability of building many EV vans as they haven’t made the required battery production investments; and,

B. MB doesn’t want to cannibalize their LICE vans sales and hurt another of their revenue streams since Tesla is hurting their luxury car sales.

We’ll see soon enough.. they will release EV version of both the Sprinter which is the same size class as the e-Crafter, and the smaller Vito will also be sold as an EV. MB have invested money in several battery assembly plants. Would think the batteries for a few thousand electric vans would be little of no problem to cover. I’ve not seen the price estimate for the MB vans, nor the Renault vans (that will probably be sold as Nissan and maybe also Opel – as they have used to). I know the MAN van is even more expensive then the e-Crafter. Would guess the IVECO van will be expensive as well. Ford will (for all I know) just offer their Transit Custom as a hybrid, at least to begin with. When all of these hit the market, there will be some kind of competition, and then we’ll see how interested the different brands will be in gaining market share, for electric vans. Too bad with this price, since the e-Crafter with 400km range would be good enough for me – IF the price is competetive, so I can save money on fuel, toll roads, parking and cheaper maintanance.… Read more »

Jepp in mind that this is the new non MB related Crafter…

And….this is why DHL went it alone in building its EV delivery vans so they wouldn’t get raped by the laggard, legacy LICE companies who REFUSED to quote them a price for EV delivery vans and instead tried to sell them “clean diesels”!

Way to bring in MB and Tesla in to the thread – two companies that have nothing to do with the article.

In term of price premium over an ICE equivalent, it seems totally in line with the first batch of compact EVs so no surprise.

It is a Sprinter van,

3 strikes
It’s a Volkswagen
It’s way overpriced
56 mph! Even around town that won’t work.

The Streetscooter from DHL is about half the price. Smaller battery for the scooter (20kWh) but still… the price is off for the VW

It is smaller, and more primitive too.
We need proper competition, and maybe some incentives so the electric van market will grow large enough to be interesting for the large players.

Would be cool if VW or some other company makes a van this size in aluminium. Should give enough weight savings to add a larger battery too, but the price would probably be 40% higher for the aluminium, and then extra for the battery. .

I’m starting to think a vehicle this big, would be cheaper and offer longer range with a hydrogen fuel cell on board. .