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The E-Crafter, VW's First All Electric Van

The E-Crafter, VW's First All Electric Van


We all knew the day would come when the Commercial Vehicle market would have to start looking at electric alternatives.

Volkswagen Commercial Electric Van Offering

Queue the snorts of “not this again!” from the labourers who’re sick of people saying they need to get rid of the van they currently care for more than the family pet. But what the rest of us want to know is; has that day finally come? Well with the introduction of Volkswagen’s first foray into the market, the e-Crafter, maybe it has!

The e-Crafter was put through testing in Europe throughout May 2018 and is scheduled to head into production in September. However, it’s not likely to come into general production for the UK until at least 2020.  

Some may think it strange that VW have chosen the colossal Crafter as the first stop for their all-electric revolution. But the noise coming out of the powers that be at the company have basically said that they want to attack high emission readings in cities one parcel delivery at a time.

eCrafter Front

That’s right, parcel delivery. VW have said that they see the e-Crafter slotting into the short haul delivery market as a lower emission alternative to its petrol and diesel based ancestors.

Junk in the Trunk

But what’s it like we hear you ask? Well in a word; roomy. As you would expect from any Crafter, there’s acres of storage space in the back! 11,000 litres to be exact. And as you would expect from any large parcel delivery van there’s also lots of organisational storage units to make life a little easier for the courier.

Staying in the back, one of the main gripes people have with commercial vehicles is that you can’t usually see a hand in front of your face when in the back of one. Let alone get that important parcel at the back. Well be prepared for all that to change as the new van features a roof lined with lighting.

But this van is a little more flexible than just a bigger version of Postman Pat’s red van featuring shelves. There’s also storage space in the back for tools. So labourers can store equipment safely and cleanly. These compartments also have sliding door facias to keep them as compact as possible.

Postman Pat's red van

The Cockpit 

Moving up front, if this van were a mullet haircut, we would have just experienced the party in the back and are now moving swiftly on to the business area at the front. Again there’s plenty up top for the labourer to like. The theme of masses of storage space continues as the e-Crafter features not 1, not 2 but 3 side door pockets for you to cram full of as much rubbish that you’re never going to see again as you like!

There’s also storage pockets on top of the dash for the obligatory few thousand copies of papers you’ve picked up on your travels and an interior shelf running along the front of the inside. Maybe to pop your spirit level in or, more likely, more disposable coffee cups than Starbucks, Costa and McDonalds put together!

eCrafter Interior

Looking at technology, the e-Crafter is not just about vast amounts of storage space, there’s more going on here than a roomy electric van.

Like many commercial vehicles out there at the moment this silent giant features a big touchscreen media centre complete with sat nav, Bluetooth connectivity and there’s also an aux and USB input.

Potential issues?

The e-Crafter was, in no way shape or form, going to be a silver bullet to beating air-pollution and saving the ice caps. There’s bound to be issues with this initial design.

Volkswagen have worked hard on ensuring, under their delivery driver first mantra, that the battery will have to be able to complete reasonable range to stand up in the market.

eCrafter Exterior

The 100kw battery is situated in the floor space under the seats. VW have said that this should give a range of up to 200km. which is fine for the inner cities with ready access to charging ports, but may not be as viable for the florist who has to travel to 3-4 weddings and parties a week across the country.

One other potential sticking point for many may be that the e-Crafter has a top speed of 55mph at the moment. Although this may change by the time this EV comes into general production.

But if you’re delivering parcels in the middle of the big city, then how many times are you going to get over 55mph anyway?

In summary

The concept of the e-Crafter is well thought out and with the noblest of intentions. But it is clear there is more work that can be done before it is a perfect model.

But, just like the fuel emission problem of the big cities which it has been built to tackle, it is a sure fire sign that the world is taking big steps in the right direction in the battle for cleaner air.

Also if this is where VW are starting with EV commercial vehicles, then imagine where they are going to be in 10 years’ time?

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