Workers with New South Wales network operator Transgrid have given a thumbs up to a 2023 LDV eT60 electric ute which has been undergoing trials with the company this year.
Anthony Madani, a field coordinator with Transgrid and self-professed petrol head, is one of Transgrid’s staff who has been putting the 2023 LDV eT60 electric ute through its paces over the past four months.
Transgrid, which has a work transport fleet of 400 diesel vehicles and 28 passenger vehicles, announced in February that it would be putting the electric ute to the test to see if it met with the company’s operational requirements.
And according to Madani – whose “petrol head” qualifications date back to age 18 when he began collecting cars, and who now has 24 vehicles including one of the last Ford Falcons ever produced in Australia – the electric ute gets a thumbs up.
“The electric ute has been great, it is comfortable, and given it is the first generation of this particular make of vehicle it has been very impressive, and I think other manufacturers would be worried,” said Madani.
Madani has used his own experience to fine-tune the 2023 LDV eT60, including “[changing] out the tyres on the ute which has made it more efficient and smoother to drive and we’ve also added extra storage spaces for tools for when we need in the field.
“We have been getting more range than we expected, up to 400km between charges and that’s with a full family in the vehicle so that’s been a real highlight from the trial.”
The LDV eT60 boasts a 130kW/310Nm electric motor and an 88.5kWh battery pack, and has already made journeys to Newcastle, Yass, and Wagga Wagga with “no issues with charging or range,” according to Transgrid fleet manager Ryan Thomas.
“This trial is providing us with valuable insights into how we can make the transition to an electric fleet as seamless as we can and identifying issues we need to resolve such as charging and towing requirements.
“So far the ute is living up to expectations and we’re focusing on operational requirements, getting it ready for work in field and set up to be functional so it can work on job sites.”
And while Madani acknowledges there are still some issues to sort out, the electric ute is the way of the future.
“I am a petrol head and love my petrol cars but I also accept times and technology are changing and it is exciting to be part of this trial and see the capabilities it will bring,” said Madani.
“I think of my daughter and what she will be driving in the future, you always want the safest car and some of the electric vehicles being released now have incredible safety features.
“We’re at the start of this journey now but as more manufacturers come in and more vehicles are released, we will see prices drop and competition increase as the technology improves and that can only be a good thing.”
Joshua S. Hill is a Melbourne-based journalist who has been writing about climate change, clean technology, and electric vehicles for over 15 years. He has been reporting on electric vehicles and clean technologies for Renew Economy and The Driven since 2012. His preferred mode of transport is his feet.