- Electric-only version of LDV V80 tested
- Claims 127-mile zero-emissions range
- Decent driving experience, 'budget' price
Parkers Vans reviews the new LDV EV80 all-electric large van
Of all the large van manufacturers preparing to follow Iveco into production of fully electric variants – or e-vans – it would seem unlikely that the recently resurrected LDV would be first to market. Yet here we are driving the LDV EV80, which goes on sale in the UK in November 2017.
What is the LDV EV80?
As the name suggests, the EV80 is an electric version of LDV’s only other current product, the V80 large van.
But in place of the V80’s normal 2.5-litre turbodiesel – which ironically doesn’t even meet the latest Euro 6 emissions regulations for conventional fuels, making it probably the least clean large van on sale – the EV80 uses an electric motor to drive the front wheels, ‘fuelled’ by a large ferric sulphate lithium battery pack mounted below the load floor.
As a result, LDV jumps right to the cutting edge of large van segment – in drivetrain terms, at least – with a zero emissions solution that, at around £60,000, will almost certainly undercut all of the opposition on price.
Not bad going for a badge that entirely disappeared from the UK for seven years, only reappearing in 2016. As UK and Ireland importer the Harris Group is keen to point out, it seems having the massive Chinese car company SAIC as its parent company isn’t doing the LDV marque any harm.
But is the LDV EV80 electric van actually any good? Keep reading our review to find out.
LDV EV80 driving range
In contrast to other large electric vans, the EV80 comes with a single choice of battery pack size – but this doesn’t mean LDV has scrimped on capacity. The pack is rated to a substantial 56kWh.
This is enough electricity storage for a 127-mile driving range, according to the official NEDC test. That’s nothing compared to a diesel capable of hundreds of miles on a single tank, but should certainly rank as a reasonable effort for a large e-van.
However, potential buyers would do well to consider that distance an absolute maximum.
Judging by our damp part-day of driving, it would be safer to assume a real-world range of around 90 miles – and less once the weather starts turning colder, due to the additional energy demands of the heating system and the limitations of present battery chemistry.
The EV80’s driving range will also be impacted by the amount of payload in the back – the heavier the van, the less efficient. So do consider carefully whether it will really meet your needs before taking the plunge.
That said, LDV claims that it only takes an hour to fully recharge the batteries using its 50kW charging point, which is impressively swift. Our limited access to the van means we weren’t able to verify that claim this time.
What’s the LDV EV80 like to drive?
The EV80’s electric motor is rated at 92kW – equivalent to around 123hp – and 320Nm of torque, which is slightly short of the 136hp and 330Nm provided by the 2.5-litre turbodiesel V80.
Despite this, in common with many electric variants, the EV80 is the nicer van to drive.
For starters, electric motors deliver all their torque instantly, so getting moving is never an issue; performance tails off as you go faster, but while LDV quotes 0-62mph in a glacial 24 seconds it never feels that tardy. At moderate, town-centre-type velocities it’s actually rather pokey.
The gearbox is described as a ‘digital intelligent CVT’ – CVT meaning constantly variable transmission – which sounds complicated but as far as the driver is concerned simply means the EV80 is an automatic. So no wrestling with the gearlever or wearing out your clutch leg in traffic. Easy.
Then there’s the refinement. Going electric ditches all the diesel thrashing and vibration, making the EV80 much quieter than the V80. So it’s a more pleasant place to spend extended time. Although you will have to get used to hearing some unusual electric drivetrain noises – which are usually better masked than they are in the LDV.
As for the handling, the steering is much the same – slightly long-winded and rather light but ultimately accurate enough for swift progress – while the amount the van rolls around in corners is kept under better control here by the weight of the batteries below the floor.
Given the gross vehicle weight (GVW) remains fixed at 3.5 tonnes, the regular brakes remain up to the fundamental task of stopping the van, despite the additional heft of those batteries and the other electric drive components.
But in an electric van it typically feels like you're braking as soon as you lift off the accelerator, as the drag from the electric motor is used to slow the vehicle down, recharging the battery in the process. There is hardly any sense that this happens in the EV80, which seems wasteful and short-sighted.
Any changes inside the cab?
The basic design remains largely the same – and that’s no accidental use of the word ‘basic’. But the centrally mounted instrument cluster has been changed to prominently display remaining range and energy usage, rather than a conventional rev counter.
One other novelty is the inclusion of an electronic parking brake on the EV80, so there’s no old-fashioned lever. Supposedly this reduces wear, and therefore servicing costs.
How practical is the LDV EV80?
We’ve already discussed the driving range, but what about the load practicality?
The EV80 comes in two variants – a medium roof, long-wheelbase panel van and a chassis cab for conversion. We’re mainly concerned with the van, and the good news is, because the batteries for the electric motor are under the floor, the load space is no different to the diesel version.
That gives the LDV EV80 the following load area dimensions:
- Maximum load length: 3,300mm
- Maximum load height: 1,710mm
- Maximum load width: 1,770mm
- Width between the wheelarches: 1,380mm
- Load volume: 10.2 cubic metres
Ok, so it’s not a particularly big large van. But with just 0.2 cubic metres volume difference between this and the diesel model, you don’t suffer for space by going electric.
Where you do suffer is with the payload capacity.
A diesel V80 weighs 2,081kg, leaving room for 1,419kg in payload – already among the poorest in the large 3.5-tonne van sector. The EV80’s payload rating is just 950kg. Both vehicles have a 3.5-tonne GVW, which tells us the EV80 weighs 2,550kg, some 469kg more than the diesel, all of which comes off the payload rating
Electric drive tech is heavy.
As such, the EV80 is really only suitable for predictable short-distance usage, carrying goods that are relatively light.
Another thing worth noting is that the battery pack hangs conspicuously low, reducing ground clearance to 165mm. Keep it in mind if you find yourself working on a particularly rugged site.
LDV EV80 value and standard equipment
The exact price of the EV80 will be announced closer to its official on-sale date in November 2017, but we’ve been told to expect it to be around £60,000 – approximately four times the cost of the diesel version.
This isn’t surprising for a large electric van, however, and you should get an £8k discount on that thanks to the government’s plug-in van grant (see the Parkers Vans guide to electric vans for more details).
What’s more, we expected it to comfortably undercut other large electric vans with an equivalent claimed range. So in this respect it will remain a budget-friendly option.
Standard equipment is reasonable, too. You miss out on a lot of the latest safety innovations – the basic van platform used here dates back to 2004 – but all of the following is included:
- Single sliding side door
- Easy-clean non-slip cargo floor
- Load area lighting
- Electric windows
- Electric heated door mirrors
- Eight-way adjustable driver’s seat
- Dual passenger seat
Value also has to be judged on running costs. While expensive to buy, electric vans like this should prove less expensive per mile compared to the equivalent diesel – thanks to lower ‘fuel’ prices and reduced servicing costs. Electric vans have fewer moving parts.
By warned that LDV doesn’t have very many dealers, though, so the practicalities of getting the van there – especially in an emergency – should be taken into account.
LDV EV80 verdict
If you’re looking for a large electric van, at the moment it’s this or the Iveco Daily Electric, and the EV80 is less compromised from the driving perspective.
As with all electric vans, it ain’t cheap and payload is restricted. In the LDV’s case, also consider that the platform and safety levels are unsophisticated, and operational reliability is yet to be tested.
But within those constraints, the EV80 is viable – at least until the Renault Master ZE, VW e-Crafter and next-gen electric Mercedes Sprinter turn up anyway. And even then, the LDV should prove substantially cheaper.