Check out ABT and VW’s new electric van

By topgear, 20 May 2020

ABT isn’t just in the business of making already very fast cars even faster. It’s also big into “e-mobility” – it has a successful Formula E team, and a few years ago stuffed a small battery and a couple of motorsport-grade e-motors in a last-gen RS6 to make a 1,000bhp uber-hybrid. Just because it could.

Now it’s helped VW’s commercial vehicle arm electrify the new Transporter 6.1. Available in the UK from normal VW dealerships, the eTransporter is plainly not designed for long-distance hauling. It’s only got a 37.3kWh battery, which is just a little bigger than the batteries you get in the Mini Electric and Honda e, and much smaller than the one you’ll find in a Renault Zoe.

So range is limited to only 132km, which is just fine if you spend all day bombing around central London, but less good if you need to get something from Heathrow to Cardiff double-quick.

No doubt ABT could’ve fitted a bigger battery, but at the moment the market for electric vans is centred around ensuring ‘last-mile’ delivery services can continue to operate as more and more cities introduce low-emissions zones. So big range isn’t really necessary.

The upside of the small battery is that it doesn’t eat into cargo space – the eTransporter can carry over a tonne despite its measly 108bhp. 0-100kph takes a predictably slow 17.4 seconds, while 50kW CCS charging means an 80 per cent recharge takes about 45 minutes, and a full charge on a 7.2kW wallbox takes five and a half hours. Prices start at just over £42K (approx. RM224,343).