Maxus wants to convince your business to switch to all-electric power with this compact model, the e Deliver 3. Jonathan Crouch checks out what's on offer.
If the motor industry is serious about reducing smog in our cities, it needs to put as much effort into electrification in vans as in cars. Particularly when it comes to the more compact LCVs that account for most sales. With many of the established van brands proving slow off the mark in this regard, it's been left to a segment newcomer, Chinese maker Maxus, to show what can be done with this model, the e Deliver 3.
Prior to the launch of this van, the Renault Nissan Alliance had had the full-electric compact van market to itself with two battery-powered LCVs, the Renault Kangoo Z.E. and the Nissan e-NV200. The Maxus e Deliver 3 easily undercuts both on price and specification. But can it offer other attributes strong enough to justify business customers committing to an unknown mark in this segment?
There's a choice of electric powertrains with the e Deliver 3, either a 35kWh package or an uprated 52.5kWh battery pack. Rest to 62mph takes between 11 and 13 seconds depending on the variant you choose and the modest top speed is 75mph. More importantly, all variants have 255Nm of pulling power, so there's plenty of mid-range grunt should you need to dart into a gap in the traffic. You'll want to know about driving range. The entry-level 35kWh variant has a maximum claimed WLTP-rated range of 98 miles, though this figure drops to 93 miles for the long wheelbase model. The larger capacity 52.5kWh battery improves these readings to 150 miles with a short wheelbase version and 142 miles for the longer wheelbase model.
Maxus says that the 35kWh battery pack can be fully recharged in 6 hours using a standard AC charging station, with the bigger 52.5kWh unit taking 8 hours using the same kind of charger. When plugged into a DC fast charger - if you can find one - both powerpacks should be able to recharge to 80% in about 45 minutes.
Design and Build
The e Deliver 3 has a squat solid look, with chunky styling and a rather interesting V-shaped crease that spears forward into an arrow shape across the front doors. At the front, blue trimming across the blanked-off grille designates this as an all-electric LCV and large headlights smear back into the front wings. You won't be expecting tactile plastics around the cabin - and you don't get them, but it feels modern enough behind the wheel and the driver's seat is actually quite comfortable, with plenty of adjustment. Everything seems built to last - this feels like a cabin that could withstand the rigours of a hard working life.
The fascia is dominated by an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment screen which can support 'Apple CarPlay' and 'Android Auto' smartphone-mirroring. There's a multi-function steering wheel with rake adjustment and, unusually for a van, you get a passenger airbag as standard.
Market and Model
From launch, prices for the e Deliver 3 were pitched from £30,000 excluding VAT, but that falls to £22,800 once the approved UK government electric vehicle grant has been subtracted from the asking price, making this one of the best value all electric vans on the market. It significantly undercuts its two main rivals, the Renault Kangoo Z.E. and the Nissan e-NV200. The e Deliver 3 is available in three body styles: a short wheelbase panel van, a long wheelbase panel van and a platform chassis. There are two battery output options, either 35kWh or 52.5kWh.
Whichever e Deliver 3 model you choose, it'll come with plenty of equipment. You can tick off electric windows and immobiliser, a multifunction steering wheel, rear parking sensors, a reversing camera, electric windows and powered mirrors. There's also an 8-inch centre-dash screen with 'Apple CarPlay'/'Android Auto' smartphone-mirroring. Plus as you'd expect, there's a driver's airbag - and a front passenger airbag too. And a stainless steel cargo area floor, plus ESC stability control and the usual assistance for braking and traction control.
Practicalities and Costs
A practical load area is fundamental in any LCV and the e Deliver 3 meets the class standard in this regard. It features a heavy-duty bulkhead and rear doors that open wide for easy loading. Let's get to the figures. With the panel van variants, the width of the load compartment is 1,665mm, narrowing to 1,220mm between the wheel arches. The short wheelbase van can offer 4.8.3m?? of capacity, while the long wheelbase version has 6.3m??. In both cases, the floor height is 1330mm. The cargo area length is 2,180mm in the short wheelbase variant - or 2,770mm in the long wheelbase model.
Payloads vary between 865kgs and 905kgs for the short wheelbase variant and between 990kgs and 1,020kgs for the long wheelbase version. The sliding door width is 710mm and the sliding door height is 1,230mm. The e Deliver 3 can tow up to 500kg and take up to 75kg on its roof in short wheelbase form - or 100kgs on its roof in long wheelbase guise. All Maxus vehicles come with a five year warranty or 125,000 miles of cover and include five years roadside assistance cover as standard.
It's certainly getting easier to make the switch to a full-EV vehicle. And Maxus has lowered the price point for entry into the BEV van sector with this e Deliver 3 and offers a high value package that many businesses won't take the trouble to check out.
Those that do should find lots to like here. We'd ideally like to have seen a longer operating range - but that will come as battery technology improves. For the time being, what's on offer should meet the needs of most urban-based businesses that feel the need for a full-electric van. There's pretty much everything you need here - and not much you don't. As always with Maxus.