New Maxus e Deliver 3 is a purpose-built electric van with 200-mile driving range

  • First van designed to be electric right from the start
  • Clever weight-saving and 1,020kg payload - more than any diesel small van
  • Driving range of up 198 miles, choice of two body sizes and batteries, £30k before plug-in van grant

The Maxus e Deliver 3 is the first proper, completely purpose-built mainstream electric van to go on sale in the UK. Designed from the ground-up for electric power only, the e Deliver 3 is compact, lightweight and can carry up to 1,020kg payload. That's more than any diesel small van right now.

Competing against the aging Renault Kangoo ZE and Nissan e-NV200 electric vans - the Maxus e Deliver 3 is also well-equipped, comes in two sizes (plus a chassis cab), drives up to 198 miles per charge and you can recharge the batteries to 80% in 45 minutes.

With prices starting from £30,000 before any government plug-in van grant discount, it's also attractively priced given its capability. Keep reading for full details of this new electric van.

It looks familiar?

If the Maxus e Deliver 3 looks vaguely familiar, that’s because it was originally shown at the 2019 CV Show as the LDV EV30. It was due to make its debut as the Maxus e Deliver 3 at the 2020 CV Show in April, at which point LDV was to official launch its rebranding as Maxus. Unfortunately, the CV Show was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, so Maxus has held a virtual preview online instead.

Maxus e Deliver 3 electric van - front view, studio, 2020

The change to the Maxus name brings the old LDV brand into line with China - the firm is owned by Chinese automotive giant SAIC - and the rest of Europe. The vans will continued to be imported by the Harris Group in Ireland, and the e Deliver 3 will sit in a revised LDV/Maxus range that also includes a brand new Deliver 9 large van.

What makes the Maxus e Deliver 3 worth buying?

We’d go with 'worth considering' at this stage, as we haven’t yet driven it enough (more on this below) to say if it’s worth buying. But it’s certainly looking capable of raising a few eyebrows, even against established rivals in the UK market.

For starters, it’s been designed as a pure electric van from the outset – there is no hybrid, petrol or diesel version. This is basically unique among vans available in the UK at this point in time, and seems to have done the trick in terms of allowing Maxus to optimise this small van for a substantial 1,000kg (1.0-tonne) payload.

That’s a lot of carrying capacity for an electric van with such small dimensions.

Maxus e Deliver 3 electric van - side view, Ireland, door open, 2020

Helping things along here, the e Deliver 3 is not only available in a choice of two body sizes and with one or two battery packs, it’s also made out of an unusual mixture of aluminium, high-strength steel and composite materials.

This is the kind of engineering sophistication that’s becoming increasingly common among cars, but remains highly unusual among vans. And according to Maxus, it reduces the overall weight of the e Deliver 3 by around 140kg.

More than this, however, the e Deliver 3 uses battery technology from CATL - one of the world’s largest and most advanced electric vehicle battery suppliers, has been designed to withstand the toughest crash-testing regimes, and has already been evaluated in real-world conditions by Chinese customer fleets.

You say it comes in two sizes?

Yes – there’s a short-wheelbase (SWB) version and a long-wheelbase (LWB) version, which Maxus hopes gives enough variance to bridge the gap between the traditional small and medium van markets. Although that’s probably pushing things a bit in terms of medium van capabilities, the large model does offer up to 6.3 cubic metres of load volume.

Let’s talk dimensions. According to the official UK info, the SWB e Deliver 3 is 4,555mm long by 1,895mm high with a 2,910mm wheelbase, and has a 4.8 cubic metre load area; the LWB e Deliver 3 is 5,145mm long by 1,900mm high with a 3,285mm wheelbase. Both are 1,780mm wide and have 710mm side-door openings. The rear door opening is 1,330mm tall by 1,300 wide.

Maxus e Deliver 3 electric van - load space from through rear door, 2020

The e Deliver 3 is also available as a chassis cab, which is based on the LWB platform and comes from the factory 5,037mm long and 1,866mm high. This is only offered with the larger of the two battery packs.

How big is the load area of the e Deliver 3?

The SWB version has a cargo area 2,180mm long, which extends to 2,770mm for the LWB model. There's only a singe roof height, and the internal load space height is 1,330mm.

Load width is 1,665mm max, with 1,220mm between the wheel arches.

What’s the payload of the e Deliver 3?

The UK specification says that with the smaller 35kWh battery pack option, the SWB e Deliver 3 is rated to carry 865kg; this actually goes up to 905kg with the bigger 52.5kWh battery pack, thanks to an increase in the gross vehicle weight (GVW) rating.

Maxus e Deliver 3 electric van - load area from through side door, 2020

With the larger battery pack the LWB e Deliver 3 has a 990kg payload, but with the smaller battery pack this goes up to 1,020kg - that's more payload than any other small van on sale at present, including the very latest diesel models.

An outstanding achievement. All models can tow up to 500kg, too.

What’s the driving range?

No other small electric van presently offers a choice of battery sizes - or the ultimate claimed driving range of the e Deliver 3.

The SWB version with the bigger battery pack unsurprisingly goes the furthest, with a claimed 198 miles according to the older NEDC testing standard. Following the newer WLTP test this falls to what is supposed to be a more realistic 150 miles, though the Harris Group claims to have gone further than this in UK on-road testing.

Maxus e Deliver 3 electric van - weird driving shot, 2020

Either way, it's more than the rival Renault Kangoo ZE and Nissan e-NV200 can offer, as these claim 143 miles and 124 miles WLTP, respectively. The Maxus has substantially higher payload capacity as well. Even with the smaller battery, the e Deliver 3 is said to be capable of over 110 miles.

How powerful is it?

The electric motor that drives the front wheels produces 90kW (122hp) and 255Nm of torque – which should be enough muscle to get such a small van moving.

When we visited Maxus in China in December 2019, the chief product manager, Dr Chao Chen, was keen to point out the drivetrain systems are so thoroughly integrated in the e Deliver 3 – another benefit of it being an electric van from the start – that not only are there 20-30% weight savings, the rate of response to driver inputs is enhanced as well.

Maxus e Deliver 3 electric van - front view in China, 2020

What’s more, it comes with a choice of three driving modes – Eco, Normal and Sport – plus three levels of brake energy recuperation. Combine Eco with the max regen settings and range is said to increase by 10%. This will also give you lots of braking effect through the motor whenever you lift off the accelerator, reducing wear on the pads and discs.

How long does it take to charge?

The e Deliver 3 has two types of charger built in, and is said to take a relavtively speedy 6-8 hours using the slow AC charging method.

Charging uses a faster DC system you can expect an 80% charge in 45 minutes - apparently regardless of battery size.

The batteries have been crash tested, water tested and exposed to extremes of heat and cold far beyond anything the van is likely to experience in the UK.

What’s the e Deliver 3 like to drive?

If only we could tell you. At this stage, the sum total of our test drive experience (in China) consists of driving up a short concrete slope and then reversing back down it – something the (unladen) e Deliver 3 managed without any issue at all.

Which is a bit of a given, really.

Maxus e Deliver 3 electric van - rear view ahead of Chinese 'test drive' ramp, 2020

What we can say from this is that the noise from the electric motor was surprisingly loud, and the resolution of the reversing camera was passable rather than mind-blowingly impressive.

We’ll bring you a full review once we’ve had the chance to try it properly in the UK.

How do you rate the interior?

In the examples we saw in China, the designers had gone a bit wild with a blue plastic finish - in an electric van we don’t mind that too much, however, and it certainly helps the cab to appear cheerful and bright.

Maxus e Deliver 3 electric van - left-hand drive cab interior, China, 2020

That said, the UK versions we've seen so far have been sporting a much more subtle finish inside. Which does make the van looks smarter.

Otherwise there’s nothing especially sensational to report about the cab, unless you’ve got a particular dislike for flat-bottomed steering wheels. The dials are clear, the controls are easy to locate and instead of a lever the single-speed transmission is operated by a dial – which helps make for a roomier than average feeling cabin.

Maxus e Deliver 3 electric van - right-hand drive cab interior, Ireland, 2020

In-cab storage space could be a little more generous, but the main thing is that this doesn’t immediately strike you as a bargain basement product – and as such, is a big step on from the LDV V80.

Standard UK equipment includes air-conditioning, a reversing camera, rear parking sensors and arm rests.

What’s the build quality like overall?

Well, the load floor looks tough enough, but some of the door handles felt a bit flimsy, and we’re not sure what customers will make of the extensive use of what seems to be some kind of sealant to fill the exterior panel gaps.

Maxus e Deliver 3 electric van - left-hand drive cab interior, gear selector and touchscreen, China, 2020

Though equally, the e Deliver 3s we’ve seen so far have not been final European production models, and we’ve seen similar sealant use on a Mercedes-Benz X-Class.

The battery is covered by an eight-year, 100,000-mile warranty for peace of mind, with the rest of the van covered for five years. You also get five years' roadside assistance.

How much does the e Deliver 3 cost and when does it go on sale?

The starting price for the e Deliver 3 is £30,000 excluding VAT - but that's before the plug-in van grant, which should reduce it to £24,000 (we're just checking on this). Upgrading to the larger battery will cost around £3,000. It is on sale now.

Obviously, we reserve final judgement until we’ve driven it in the UK, but we strongly believe this well-packaged, attractive-looking and cleverly thought-out electric van could be a big hit in the UK market for the newly minted Maxus brand.

We'll bring you a review as soon as we can.

Also read:

>> LDV Maxus Deliver 9 large van revealed

>> The Parkers guide to electric vans

>> Future electric vans coming soon

>> The best electric vans you can buy now

>> LDV EV30 electric van makes debut at CV Show 2019

>> Sign-up for the Parkers Vans and Pickups newsletter