Innovation Automotive EC 35

It’s the cheapest electric van on the UK market, but will that be enough to turn heads asks John Kendall


Innovation Automotive EC 35

It’s the cheapest electric van on the UK market, but will that be enough to turn heads asks John Kendall

Chinese motor manufacturing is making progress at an impressive speed. Recently Lotus announced that the company will make its first SUV in Wuhan and plans to build 100,000 per year.

Closer to home for Van Fleet World, we have already seen what Maxus is capable of making. Now it’s the turn of another manufacturer to enter the light CV market. In fairness, DFSK has sold microvans here before, but this is a more developed proposition. Innovation Automotive, a new importer was founded, mainly by former Mitsubishi UK staff a couple of years ago. Visitors to the CV Show in 2021 may have seen the EC35, the company’s first electric model, shown ahead of its launch this year.

Now you can order one. The company opened its order book last month for a very competitively priced entrant in the electric van sector.

The compact van is powered by a 39kWh lithium-ion battery pack which will deliver a WLTP range of up to 166 miles. Innovation Automotive offers two range options, both from the same battery pack. It delivers the range by offering two different maximum speeds. To achieve 166 miles, top speed is limited to 50mph, which would be fine for working around town. Opt for a limited speed of 62mph and range drops to 101 miles. Using the standard CCS charging connector, the van can be charged either from a wallbox or from a public DC rapid charger, taking around 60 minutes to achieve an 80 per cent charge from fully discharged.

With a list price of £20,999 (ex VAT) on the road, including plug-in grant, it is the lowest priced electric van on the market. The van comes with a five year/75,000-mile warranty.

For this you get a van with a payload of 1,015kg and load volume of 4.8m3. The load floor measures 2,470mm long with a maximum width of 1,470mm and floor to ceiling height of 1,130mm. This last measurement is slightly shorter than the petrol-powered variant of the van, which Innovation Automotive will not be importing, as the battery pack is mounted on the original load floor with a load bearing floor fitted over it. With a load volume of 4.8m3, it’s clear that this does not have a serious impact on available load space.

The cab is equipped with a Grundig 6.8” touchscreen infotainment system with Apple Car Play and Android Auto as standard. The system also features DAB digital radio and voice control.

By van standards, equipment is fairly basic. There is no steering column adjustment for instance and storage space is a bit limited. You won’t find a regenerative braking booster as in some rivals, but you also won’t find another electric van at this price.

First impressions are of a van with reasonably lively performance unladen and that is very simple to drive. A rotary selector between the seats enables the driver to select forward or reverse and then it’s just a simple matter of pulling away as you would in an automatic.

At the business end, a lifting tailgate gives access to the load area and there are sliding side doors each side, giving good access to the load area.

You won’t find Innovation Automotive dealers near you. Vehicle ordering is all carried out online. The company has arranged servicing through the 51 Halfords Autocentres in England, Scotland and Wales. There’s a complimentary three-year roadside assistance package arranged through the AA too.

We will bring you a full road test of an EC35 soon.

Which model is right for you?

The cost of the PHEV option might put some people off – it’s a big stretch to beyond £40k from the starting price of less than £30,000. However, for those looking for a plug-in fix and who are set on the Jeep, the 1.3 S model is not a bad option. There’s ample power available and the 30-mile EV-only range is very realistic, based on the experience of our test drive.




Jeep Compass and Renegade all new e-Hybrid powertrain


SECTOR: Compact van

PRICE: £20,999 (ex VAT) OTR including PiVG LOAD VOLUME: 4.8m3 PAYLOAD: 1,015kg RANGE: Up to 166 miles DRIVE: Battery electric with 80bhp motor ON SALE: Available to order now


The hybrid powertrain and an upgraded environment for passengers and driver, means the Compass will be a big consideration for many drivers. Add into the mix a very capable chassis for going off-road – who doesn’t love that – and it's a great package all round.



HOW MUCH? from £40,895

ECONOMY? 156.9mpg

EMISSIONS? 44-47g/km

Key fleet model 1.3-litre PHEV S

👍 Interior quality; off-road capabilities

👎 Engine noise

7-word summary A big step forward, inside and out

Also consider Ford Kuga / Kia Sportage / Volkswagen Tiguan

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