VW ABT eTransporter 6.1 goes on sale

The VW ABT eTransporter 6.1 – the first ever fully electric van from Volkswagen – has finally gone on sale, some 70 years after the first ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) model. The eTransporter has a relatively short range of up to 82 miles but will be very moderately priced from £42,060 plus VAT.

  • 83kW (109hp) / 200Nm motor
  • 6.7 cubic metre load area
  • 1,001kg payload
  • Modified dual-clutch DSG transmission
  • 37.3kWh lithium-ion battery from CATL of China
  • 82 miles range on new, stricter WLTP cycle

Background

After first hitting the market in 1950, Volkswagen are definitely a latecomer to the electric van market and it has taken them 70 years to develop an electric version of their iconic and best-selling van.

What’s more, is that it wasn’t even developed in-house by Volkswagen. Instead, the German manufacturer has outsourced the electrification to ABT, an auto tuning company based in Kempten – seven hours away from the factory in Hanover.

eTransporter specification and interior

There are two trim levels offered on the ABT eTransporter, the base and Advanced, however both are similarly specced inside with with a DAB+ radio system with 6.5-inch touchscreen and four loudspeakers, SD card slot, Bluetooth® handsfree and two USB interfaces (type-C) in the dashboard.

Volkswagen AppConnect, another standard feature on both models, allows you to bring smartphone apps onto your infotainment system’s touchscreen and complements the wide range of driver assistance systems, including Front Assist with City Emergency Braking System, rear parking sensors and Crosswind Assist.

Upgrading to Advanced, which at £45,360 plus VAT is a £3,300 premium on the base, rewards you with a wide range of practical and stylish features. The steel wheels are replaced with 17-inch alloys, and there is also electrically foldable door mirrors, automatic LED headlights, rain sensing windscreen wipers, heated windshield, auto-dimming rear-view mirror and front and rear parking sensors.

Motor and performance

VW ABT eTransporter 6.1

Powered by an 83kW (109hp) and 200Nm electric motor, the VW ABT eTransporter 6.1 certainly isn’t short of grunt. The 0-62mph time of 17.4 seconds sounds slightly disappointing but, as with all electric vehicles, it is the initial 0-30mph shunt that’s the most impressive thanks to the instant torque. Perhaps EV manufacturers should start publishing these figures instead?

VW ABT eTransporter 6.1 range and battery charging

The 37.3kWh lithium-ion battery is supplied by Chinese battery manufacturer CATL (who also supply Maxus/LDV vans) and has a range of 82 miles on the new stricter WLTP cycle, falling short of the new Vauxhall Vivaro-E by 60 miles.

The eTransporter accepts CCS (Combined Charging System) allowing for AC and DC charging. Using the Rapid 50kW DC connection, an 80% charge is supplied in just 45 minutes although a 7.2kW wallbox AC charge will take up to five and half hours from flat to full.  

Driving

A battery status is provided in the instrument cluster which lights ‘green’ when the regenerative braking is operational and charging the battery, and ‘blue when you’re travelling at the optimum speeds and acceleration for the most economical driving.

There’s also a modified dual clutch transmission DSG, which combines the conventional transmission with the requirements of an electric drive to develop sufficient power in any driving situation. When Drive (‘D’) is selected, the motor will deliver 75% power to maximise range, with the kickdown function on the gear shift providing 100% power and torque, maximising performance.

eTransporter 6.1 payload and dimensions

There will initially only be one variant available (the long wheelbase, low roof) and thanks to the compact battery which can slot comfortably underneath the vehicle, the eTransporter retains the same load dimensions as its diesel equivalent with a maximum load length of 2,975mm and a load volume of 6.7 cubic metres.

On the sole 3.2 tonne Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) rating, there is a 1,001kg payload on the base version.

Also read: VW TRANSPORTER T6.1 DIMENSIONS

VW ABT eTransporter 6.1 price and costs

With prices starting at £42,060 plus VAT and rising to £45,360 plus VAT, the eTransporter is certainly a lot more affordable than some electric vans at the moment. However, Kombi versions come with a slightly heftier price tag of £46,375 (plus VAT) and £49,985 (plus VAT) respectively.

With its zero-emission status, all variants of the ABT eTransporter 6.1 are exempt from road tax (VED) and afforded unrestricted access to the London Ultra Low Emission Zone and Clean Air Zones.

Also read: VW TRANSPORTER T6.1 REVIEW