Not that long ago Nissan Dongfeng quietly launched its first all-electric bakkie in China.
We were sure the next all-electric bakkie would come from the US, but it turns out Australia was the second country to join the party.
The company behind the car you see here is called Zero Automotive and its first electric bakkie is called the ZED70 Ute.
It should look familiar, because it’s based on the Land Cruiser 70 series.
The ZED70 uses a 700Nm permanent magnet motor, powered by a lithium-ion battery bank with a 88kWh rating. A more powerful 115kWh is also available. Zero Automotive claims a 10-year lifespan for the battery pack, which, at current rates should cost around R100 000 to replace. In 10 years, that should cost significantly less. Not to mention how much you would have saved in petrol/diesel, because the Land Cruiser isn’t exactly known for being frugal.
Zero Automotive doesn’t claim a standard range, but rather a theoretical range of 350km. From empty, it takes around four hours to charge. According to Zero Automotive, it will soon offer a one-hour charging solution as well.
The ZED70 weighs 216kg more than the standard Land Cruiser, which would be tough to notice given the claimed torque figure.
The range remains a problem, but for the moment the ZED70 is aimed at mining and farming applications, though anyone with enough money can buy one. For the record, it retails for just under R2 million at the current exchange rate.
Obviously an electric vehicle requires more dials than a standard car and the Land Cruiser’s standard instrument binnacle doesn’t have a read-out for range.
To get around this problem, the ZED70 displays all the relevant information on the touch-screen interface in the centre console.