REVIEW: We drive Maxus all-electric bakkie in SA
T90EV is SA's first electric double cab but its low running costs are offset by high purchase price
Shanghai Automotive Industrial Corporation (SAIC) is a prominent player in China’s automotive sector. It manufactures numerous conventional and electric nameplates, including Maxus-branded SUVs and commercial vehicles.
The company, which also owns British brands Rover and MG, returns to SA after previously having been imported by Combined Motor Holdings (CMH) between 2013 and 2016.
A new distributor, Maxus Electric Vehicles, has opened a dealership in Menlyn, Pretoria. It’s managed by Everlectric, the innovative start-up that supplies electric delivery vans to Woolworths.
In a bold move, it will sell only fully electric commercial products, including the Maxus T90EV double cab bakkie with a starting price of R1.1m, when it launches in November.
What is it?
The Maxus T90EV is a double-cab bakkie riding on a ladder-frame chassis with rear leaf spring suspension and resplendent with the trending bakkie styling pointers of a large and shiny grille. The model, which spans 5,365mm in length, 1,900mm in width and 1,809mm in height, is equipped with halogen headlights with auto function, 17-inch alloy wheels and a sidestep.
The T90EV has the cabin ergonomics and design familiar to the niche. Though initial perceptions of the quality of touch points isn’t top shelf, you sit on comfy and electrically adjusted seats covered in faux leather facing an analogue driver’s information binnacle with clear read-out fonts and a 10.25-inch digital main display touchscreen.
A radio, USBs, Bluetooth, 12V power outlet and a manual front air conditioner are also specified, as are a reversing camera and rear parking sensors. Safety is provided by driver, passenger and curtain airbags and ESP.
What beats up front
A single electric motor with peak outputs of 150kW and 310Nm driving the rear wheels through an 88kWh battery pack situated underneath the car. It can be charged from 5%-80% in 45 minutes using a high-speed DC fast charger, or eight hours on an 11kW AC charger. It’s equipped with regenerative braking and claims a driving range of about 350km.
How does it drive?
BusinessLIVE compared the purchase and running costs of the Maxus T90EV and a diesel rival over a 20,000km annual distance. It revealed the electric bakkie will cost around R28,000 less per year to run
The electric internals make it exceptionally smooth and tractable everywhere. It’s a bakkie drive like we’ve never experienced before and the power output is comparable with entry-level double-cab rivals such the Ford Ranger 2.0 SiT double cab and Toyota’s Hilux 2.4GD-6 double cab SR. Though acceleration figures aren’t provided, the electric Maxus has strong take-off when you plant the throttle.
The T90EV is a 4x2 with a claimed wading depth of 550mm. This is modest by high-riding double-cab standards and sufficient for use on typical farm arterial roads. The payload of one tonne should be dealt with easily by the electric motor, but the bakkie has a lower-than-average 750kg towing capacity.
Cost of ownership
Maxus SA CEO Ndia Magadagela says the mining, private security, aviation and farming sectors are primarily being targeted, though the electric bakkie is also suitable for families.
At R1.1m, the Maxus T90EV is similarly priced to a top-of-the-range Ford Ranger Raptor 4x4 or Volkswagen Amarok 4x4. The company highlights the electric bakkie’s cheap running costs of 40c a kilometre vs a R2/km to run a diesel bakkie.
Based on these figures, BusinessLIVE compared the purchase and running costs of the Maxus T90EV and a diesel rival with similar features — the Toyota Hilux 2.4GD-6 double cab SR 4x2 priced at R566,900 — over a 20,000km annual distance. It revealed the electric bakkie will cost about R28,000 less per year to run, a saving that would take 19 years to cover the R533,100 price difference.
Over 30,000km, the running cost saving for the EV bakkie is improved by R48,000 per year, and would take 11 years to break even.
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