ldv et60 2023 review
Australia's first EV ute was always going to come with caveats, but does the eT60 have too many? (Image: Tom White)

Likes

Quiet, smooth electric motor Good charging specs Range probably enough for many fleets

Dislikes

Too expensive Odd standard equipment list Rough unladen ride

This is it: Australia’s first fully electric ute.

It is telling of the times that the eT60, a dual-cab, no less, doesn’t come from a traditional titan of Australia’s car market like Ford, Nissan or Toyota.

Instead, it comes from Chinese upstart, LDV. The brand has already made a name for itself importing affordable alternatives to these mainstream rivals.

The combustion version of the T60 is chipping away at the market share of established names, commanding nearly six per cent of the light commercial market, placed fifth behind Mitsubishi.

Can the brand be more than a cut-price option, though? Does it have what it takes to be a first-mover with its all-electric dual-cab? We drove a pre-production example at its Australian launch to find out.

Price Guide

$92,990

Based on new car retail price

This price is subject to change closer to release data

Price and features – Does it represent good value for the price? What features does it come with? 5/10

The eT60 is expensive. Shockingly expensive. The single variant which will initially arrive in Australia wears a before on-road costs price tag of $92,990.

To put that in perspective, its specification is equivalent to that of the base-model ‘Pro’ combustion version, which now wears a price-tag of $43,148.

Do the math. You could literally have two T60 Max Pros for the same cost as one of these electric versions, given the latter’s price premium of $49,842.

To make matters worse, the eT60 is rear-drive only, and with its nearly 90kWh battery pack offers just 330km of driving range, and that’s without being loaded-up.

This price is puzzling for more than one reason, however. For a start, 90kWh of batteries certainly doesn’t cost nearly $50,000 (if you take the average price of a lithium cell per kWh in 2022, the battery should cost closer to $20,000).

ldv et60 2023 review
The eT60 is rear-drive only. (Image: Tom White)

In fact, even the electric Mercedes-Benz Vito van with a similarly-sized battery comes in at $85,353 before on-road costs.

To this you could argue many things, but perhaps the most salient point is the fact that big corporate commercial fleets with zero emissions targets are seemingly obliged to pay up given the eT60 has become the only zero-emissions option in the ute space.

Standard gear is mostly shared with the Pro grade of the combustion T60, but there are some real oddities.

Good things include 17-inch alloy wheels and a slick 10.25-inch multimedia touchscreen with Apple CarPlay connectivity, synthetic leather interior trim with six-way electric adjust for the front passengers, LED DRLs, and a sports bar over the tray, which itself has a spray-on tub liner pre-applied, and side-steps to make it easier to hop in and out.

ldv et60 2023 review
Inside is a 10.25-inch multimedia touchscreen with Apple CarPlay connectivity. (Image: Tom White)

A big bonus is the household-sized 220V power outlet on the back of the centre console, which can be used to power tools and charge devices.

Then things get a bit strange. For example, this is the only fully electric car I’ve ever driven which has a turn-key ignition (as opposed to a push-start system).

It also has an analogue dial cluster, a plastic steering wheel with no telescopic adjust, halogen headlights (in 2022, really?), a manual handbrake, and the example we drove didn’t even have a dedicated park gear. To exit the vehicle, you leave it in drive or neutral, rip the handbrake on, and turn it off. Very odd.

There’s some welcome items here, and it’s also nice that despite LDV’s clear focus on commercial buyers, the eT60 is a dual-cab, so you can actually use it for more than just hauling stuff, but there are just some things (the lack of a park gear in particular) which make it feel a bit pieced together on a tight budget. Rough for a vehicle which costs nearly $100K.

Design – Is there anything interesting about its design? 7/10

The eT60 is hard to tell apart from its combustion equivalents from the outside. If you were expecting a blanked-out grille, aerodynamic wheels, or some other special EV-specific design flair, you’ll be surprised to find there are none.

To that end, the eT60 shares the exterior appeal of the combustion range, with a big, tough-looking grille, modern LED DRLs, sturdy looking alloy wheel designs, and enough chunky personality from the wide stance and additional bits like the sidesteps and sports bar.

Peeking underneath reveals the housing for the batteries, notably no spare wheel, and the tray is utilitarian with the spray-in tubliner. At least the ute scores colour-matching bodywork all around.

The same goes for the inside, which certainly feels like a commercial offering. Again, all the items in there mirror its base combustion equivalent, with the only giveaway of its electric nature being the dial-shifter which replaces the lever on the centre console.

ldv et60 2023 review
The eT60 shares the exterior appeal of the combustion range, with a big, tough-looking grille and sturdy looking alloy wheel designs. (Image: Tom White)

The cabin surroundings are largely hard-wearing plastics, including the steering wheel, making the swish touchscreen with surprisingly fast software look somewhat out-of-place.

The analogue dash cluster, for example, looks a bit old-school for an EV, and in terms of look and feel, the T60 generally feels a bit behind the pace compared to its traditionally more expensive rivals.

While it lacks in some areas, though, it is worth something that this dual-cab flies under-the-radar. Fleet operators won’t need to worry about a strange-looking ute with unnecessary frills, and common body panels with combustion versions will make repairs easy, too.

ldv et60 2023 review
The analogue dash cluster looks a bit old-school for an EV.

Practicality – How practical is the space inside? 7/10

Your burning question here will be how much the eT60 can tow and haul. With the same suspension set-up as the Pro version, this ute is capable of carrying a 1000kg payload, or tow 1000kg braked.

This is limited, but when you consider its 2300kg kerb weight due to the addition of those batteries, reasonable.

Operators should keep in mind that the 330km driving range is unladen, so you can expect half of that or less when loaded to capacity.

Tray dimensions come in at 1510mm wide (1129 between the arches), 1485mm long, and 530 high. Axle load capacity at the rear is 2100kg, and the eT60 has a GVM of 3300kg.

The approach and departure angles, as well as the clearance are mostly the same as the combustion version, coming in at 27 degrees, 24 degrees, and 187mm respectively.

ldv et60 2023 review
Tray dimensions come in at 1510mm wide, 1485mm long, and 530 high. (Image: Tom White)

Technical stuff aside, the cabin is as hard-wearing and practical as you would hope for a working ute, with a total of six cupholders and four bottle holders, a glove compartment, and sunglass holder, two USB 2.0 ports, two 12V outlets, and the welcome addition of a full-size 220V household power outlet.

The synthetic seat trim is so-so for comfort, and the seat bases are quite high, leaving someone at my 182cm height quite close to the roof.

The lack of telescopic adjust for the steering wheel is a shame, but not unusual for products from LDV’s SAIC parent company (this problem is shared with the MG ZS, for example).

The rear seat continues to offer comparatively good space for this segment, even behind my own driving position, although it would be predictably quite tight with three abreast.

As this was a brief test, we can’t tell you what it looks or feels like when loaded up, but the spray-in tubliner is better than offering the eT60 with simply a painted tray, as it’s good-to-go from day one.

Drivetrain – What are the key stats for the drivetrain? 6/10

The eT60 is rear-wheel drive only, with an electric motor producing 130kW/310Nm. That’s nowhere near as punchy as the 160kW/500Nm outputs of its punchy twin-turbo 2.0-litre combustion equivalent.

There are three driving modes – ‘Power’, ‘Normal’, and ‘Eco’, and driving performance seems tame. Again, as this was a quick spin in what was described as a pre-production vehicle, we didn’t have a chance to try it out with extra weight in the tray.

Suspension is the same as the combustion T60 Pro, consisting of ‘heavy duty’ coils at the front, and a leaf-sprung set-up in the rear. There are disc brakes all-round.

ldv et60 2023 review
Under the bonnet is an electric motor that produces 130kW/310Nm. (Image: Tom White)

Energy consumption – How much does it consume? What’s the range like, and what it’s like to recharge/refuel? 7/10

The eT60’s WLTP-rated energy consumption figure comes in at 21.3kWh/100km, which for a passenger car wouldn’t be great, but seems about right for a commercial vehicle of its size and aerodynamics. As already mentioned, this gives it an official driving range of 330km.

LDV says the fleet buyers it has lined up for the eT60 understand its range is “more than adequate for their daily requirements”.

There is some good news on the charging front, with the eT60 being sensibly specified from the factory. The DC charge rate maxes out at 80kW, for a claimed 20-80 per cent charge time of 45 minutes on a compatible charger, while the slower AC charging rate (important for back-to-base operators) is 11kW, meaning a nine-hour 5.0-100 per cent charge time.

On a single-phase charger (maxing out at 7.2kW, but cheaper to install) the 5.0-100 per cent charge time is a claimed 13 hours. Expect more like a 40-hour charge time on a standard wall socket.

ldv et60 2023 review
The eT60’s WLTP-rated energy consumption figure comes in at 21.3kWh/100km.

Safety – What safety equipment is fitted? What safety rating? 5/10

The eT60 lags behind the competition here with a notable lack of active safety equipment, now considered industry-standard.

There’s no auto emergency braking, lane support equipment, active cruise, or blind spot support. Instead, this ute has the standard array of six airbags, electronic stability and traction controls, with the addition of hill start assist, roll movement intervention, and hill descent control.

While combustion versions of the T60 have a five-star ANCAP rating from 2017 (before active items like AEB were considered necessary), don’t expect the same from the eT60.

Ownership – What does it cost to own? What warranty is offered? 8/10

Ownership is a better story. The eT60 is offered with an industry competitive five-year/160,000km warranty, with five years and 130,000km of roadside assist. There is also a separate eight-year and 160,000km warranty for the battery (supplied by CATL).

The service intervals might be the most appealing attribute, with the eT60 only needing to visit a workshop once every 24 months or 30,000km.

Even better is the cost, which will set owners back an approximate average of just $145.80 per year for the first 10 years of ownership.

Driving – What’s it like to drive? 6/10

I said some of the standard equipment on this car is odd. This continues through to the drive experience. Keep in mind that LDV reminded us that there were some pre-production quirks about the vehicle we briefly drove on this launch.

Setting off, the eT60 emits a rather unappealing artificial buzzing sound to alert nearby pedestrians of its presence. While the audible aid is welcome, particularly for a commercial vehicle which may be frequently operating in areas shared with pedestrians, does it have to be so grating?

Even the Mifa 9 electric people mover makes a more appealing science-fiction-inspired noise. Perhaps the eT60’s noise was designed to mirror the tone of a diesel engine?

The seating position leaves a lot to be desired for someone of my height and I would also love to have telescopic wheel adjust, although visibility out of the cab is good all-around, and the reversing camera is relatively high-quality.

Manoeuvring at low-speeds is only tarnished, then, by heavy steering, which annoyingly, also gets a bit vague at higher speeds.

ldv et60 2023 review
Harsh bumps were easily transmitted to the cabin, whilst undulations had it jiggling and bouncing around side-to-side. (Image: Tom White)

Higher speeds also reveal this ute’s main weakness which appears to be its ride. Keep in mind we’re driving a completely unladen pre-production example. But the ride was harsh, busy, and unsettled in our short drive, which covered a portion of freeway and some bumpy side roads.

The suspension from the combustion T60 Pro appears to struggle with the additional weight of the batteries in the eT60. Harsh bumps were easily transmitted to the cabin, whilst undulations had it jiggling and bouncing around side-to-side.

Power from the electric motor seemed sufficient, but not exciting, with tame acceleration off-the line. The obvious benefit being instantaneous response without the need for a transmission.

It is hard to tell whether the 310Nm on offer will feel too heavily burdened when the ute is loaded up. In some instances, electric motors don’t feel additional heft at all, so stay tuned for a follow-up load test.

ldv et60 2023 review
The three driving modes don’t alter the driving experience much.

Unlike this car’s Mifa 9 or eDeliver 9 relations (which use an electric motor with identical outputs), the eT60 does not have adjustable regenerative braking, with a single strong tune, which cannot even be turned off.

While it is welcome for extending the ute’s range and reducing the stress on the disc brakes, it is not a single-pedal driving mode.

The three driving modes don’t alter the experience much, with the Power mode making the electric motor more responsive, and Eco mode taking the wind out of its sails.

Its maximum speed is limited to 120km/h which is more than can be said for the eDeliver 9 which is limited to 90, a recipe for freeway frustration.

We’re keen to spend more time with the eT60 in the future to better evaluate its range claim and how it deals with more commercial duties. Hopefully it can shape up a little better than it did our quick and less-than-ideal testing environment.

Keyword: LDV eT60 2023 review

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