Volkswagen ABT e-Transporter 6.1 review

Category: Medium Van

Section: Introduction

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Volkswagen ABT eTransporter 6.1 driving
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Introduction

What Car? says...

The Volkswagen Transporter is something of an icon, having stood the test of time since 1950. However, the world moves on, and as emissions regulations tighten and a proposed ban on combustion engine sales looms, change is inevitable. Volkswagen’s response to this is a new all-electric model – the Volkswagen ABT e-Transporter 6.1.

First announced in 2018, the ABT e-Transporter has now finally made it to the UK. It has been developed in partnership with electric specialists ABT – a German tuning company better known for their Formula E racing team’s partnership with Audi.

It’s based on the newest version of the Transporter, the T6.1. Visually, at least, the most significant change is a revised front grille. Where the e-Transporter is truly different, though, is the drivetrain, with an 83kW electric motor and 37kWh battery pack replacing the engine and fuel tank.

Competition in the medium-van segment is heating up and rivals to the VW e-Transporter include the Vauxhall Vivaro-e, Citroen e-Dispatch, Peugeot e-Expert and the Maxus eDeliver 3.

While each manufacturer is trying to establish its identity and competency in the electric van segment, buyers will ultimately compare these medium-sized electric vans on their ability to carry things and how far they can travel. With a claimed range of 82 miles, the e-Transporter is not only at the lower end when it comes to range – the Vivaro-e can cover as much as 205 miles – it is also only capable of carrying just under one-tonne.

Unlike the Mercedes-Benz eVito, rapid charging is available, though, with an 80% charge possible in just 45 minutes. It’s also important to note that the eTransporter does have the same volume carrying capacity as the diesel Transporter T6.1.

Competition is also not strictly limited just to pure-electric vans only, as a hybrid Ford Transit Custom PHEV and a hybrid version of the London Taxi, called the LEVC VN5, are also available in the mid-size van segment – both of which promise more than 300 miles of combined combustion engine and electric-only driving.

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