VW e-Crafter electric large van makes UK debut at CV Show 2018

  • Electric version of Crafter stars at CV Show
  • Real-word UK testing begins in May 2018
  • Range of 99 miles and top speed of 55mph

Volkswagen has shown the e-Crafter – an all-electric version of the latest VW Crafter large van – at the CV Show 2018, ahead of the start of UK customer trials trials in May.

UPDATE: We have now driven the VW e-Crafter electric van - click here to read the Parkers Vans and Pickups review

First seen at the IAA Commercial Vehicle Show in 2016, the VW e-Crafter made its UK debut at Britain’s biggest van show at the NEC Birmingham.

>> The Parkers Vans guide to electric vans

What’s the technical spec of the VW e-Crafter electric van, and how far is the driving range?

The e-Crafter ditches diesel engines in favour of a 100kW electric motor – equivalent to 136hp.

VW e-Crafter at the CV Show 2018 - rear view

Powered by a lithium ion battery pack that’s ‘completely integrated’ into the underbody of the van, the resulting performance isn’t likely to blow you away: top speed is just 55mph and driving range is limited to around 99 miles per charge.

Doesn’t sound like much, but as with every other electric van maker, VW says this is enough to cover the distances it expects operators to drive with this kind of vehicle – typically between 45 and 60 miles a day

According to VW – which has profiled 210,000 trips with 1,500 customers – this would account for 85% of van usage in towns and cities.

How long does it take to charge the VW e-Crafter?

Using a quick-charging station the battery can be charged to 80% in 45 minutes.

A less powerful home or office wallbox will give a 100% charge in 5.5 hours.

About the same as any other electric vehicle, in other words. It’s still not a speedy process.

Does the e-Crafter carry as much as a regular Crafter?

With all the electronics being tucked away under the bonnet where the diesel engine would usually be, and the battery pack stored under the load floor, there is no impact on the load space.

VW e-Crafter at the CV Show 2018 - load capacity

The vehicle on display at the CV Show has a 10.7 cubic metre load area, while VW is promising that payload ratings of between 1.0 and 1.75 tonnes will be available.

Given that electric vans are much heavier than conventional diesel versions, the latter figure must be for a variant that’s above the 3.5-tonne gross vehicle weight (GVW) you can legally drive on a regular UK car licence. Not even a conventional 3.5t Crafter can carry as much as that.

How will the VW e-Crafter UK trial work? 

The first trials of the e-Crafter were completed with a group of major European customers in December 2017, a process which has apparently helped VW finalise the specification of the production version.

The UK is a major market for large vans, however, and so further tests will start here in May 2018.

These will be completed by Gatwick Airport, Heathrow Airport, City of London Corporation and the London Borough of Southwark – using the very eCrafter that’s on display at the CV Show.

VW e-Crafter at the CV Show 2018 - bonnet open

To find out more about what else VW is showing in Birmingham you can click here, but one of the highlights is sure to be the option to test drive the regular Crafter around a special demonstration course set.

VW at the CV Show 2018 - on Parkers Vans

When does the VW e-Crafter electric van go on sale?

European sales of the e-Crafter are set to start in September 2018 – assuming all the trials are completed successfully.

Right-hand drive (RHD) models, including those for the UK, currently aren’t planned for production until 2020-2021, however.

VW e-Crafter at the CV Show 2018 - electric motor control systems

Which seems a bit of a shame, and rather leaves the door open for other existing large electric vans such as the Renault Master ZE and the LDV EV80. It’s possibly that even the electric version of the next-generation Mercedes Sprinter, the eSprinter, may make it into RHD form first.

Particularly keen UK Volkswagen customers should be able to special order the left-hand drive e-Crafter, if required.

Also read:

>> VW e-Crafter review on Parkers Vans and Pickups

>> A-Z of the CV Show on Parkers Vans

>> VW Crafter (2017-on) full review on Parkers Vans

>> Renault Master ZE review on Parkers Vans

>> Everything you need to know about electric vans

VW e-Crafter is coming to the CV Show 2018