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Review: Volkswagen ABT e-Transporter

Review: Volkswagen ABT e-Transporter

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The ABT e-Transporter brings an EV powertrain to VW’s ever-popular van – but is it a successful switch?

What is covered:


What is it?

With more and more reliance on home deliveries the van market is booming at the moment – and it’s showing no signs of slowing down.

Volkswagen Transporter image of rearCompanies are being put under more and more pressure to demonstrate their sustainability, too, so it’s no surprise to see electric models appearing in some of the highest profile van ranges on the market. One of the latest firms to take this challenge on is Volkswagen, which in partnership with German firm ABT e-Line has created an electric version of the firm’s ever-popular Transporter. 


What’s new?

Volkswagen has made sure the e-Transporter looks and feels as normal as possible, so save for a few exterior badges you’d be hard pushed to tell it apart from the diesel. It’s based on the long-wheelbase Transporter with the same load space and can be specified in either panel or Kombi crew-van layouts. 


What’s under the bonnet?

The 109bhp electric motor has been sensibly located under the van’s bonnet, while the 37.3kWh – 32.5kWh useable – battery is placed into the floor behind the front axle to not impact on load space, mated to a DSG transmission for a more ‘normal’ feel. It will top 56mph and has a range of 82 miles, so it’s not a van for long-range work. Local drops are its forte while 50kW charging capability means a 0-80 per cent charge can be managed in just 45 minutes. Plugging into a 7.2kW home wallbox will result in a full charge in around five and a half hours.


What’s it like to drive?

From behind the wheel the e-Transporter feels like a normal panel van, albeit smoother and more refined than its petrol and diesel-powered stablemates. The ride is decent enough, and though acceleration is steady it’s quick enough to keep up with traffic. 


How does it look?

It’s a Transporter, so it’s one of the smartest vans on the market – simple as that.

Volkswagen Transporter image of frontThe charging port is located where the fuel filler is usually found, right by the passenger side door, so it doesn’t even look any different save for a few ABT e-Transporter badges. 


What’s it like inside?

The Transporter is both robust and extremely comfortable in standard form so it’s no surprise that the e-Transporter feels just as upmarket and well-made. It’s an excellent cabin for a van. At the business end, the e-Transporter matches the regular van. However, because of the battery weight its outright payload is reduced to 996kg – down from the regular van’s maximum of 1,309kg. 


What’s the spec like?

All e-Transporter models get a decent level of equipment, with a 6.5-inch colour touchscreen, a dual-passenger bench seat, heated front seats and a leather-trimmed steering wheel as standard. Advance versions add 17-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights and electrically foldable door mirrors. 


Verdict

The e-Transporter is a comfortable, pleasant and relaxing van to drive, ideal for urban use. Its range restricts it though – you don’t want to be buying one if you cover a big mileage, but for urban multi-drop use in areas where emissions are controlled and penalised it makes a lot of sense.

Look at used Transporter stock