Taking EVs to the Max-us
John Kendall takes a look at the latest battery-powered offerings from one Chinese-owned brand
Maxus used the CV Show in May to launch two new electric vehicles, one being the MIFA 9, a seven-seat MPV. Although designed as a passenger car, the vehicle’s manufacturer SAIC has suggested that the platform could also be used for pickup trucks.
The Maxus T90 pickup is already in production in China, but an electric version, the T90EV, was unveiled on the Maxus stand at the NEC.
Maxus claims a WLTP City range of 198 miles and a payload of 740kg for the double-cab pickup, which offers load box dimensions of 1,485mm x 1,510mm x 530mm. The T90EV is available with a battery capacity of 88.55kWh, which supplies power to a 150kW electric motor driving the rear wheels only. The model on display at the CV Show was equipped with a reversing camera and rain-sensing windscreen wipers. Other equipment included automatic halogen headlights, LED daytime running lights, 17-inch alloy wheels, a stainless-steel sports bar and outside rope hook. The interior will feature a 10.25-inch touchscreen.
The T90EV, as displayed, offers a gross vehicle weight of 3,300kg, which leaves scope for that to be increased.
The 740kg payload would prevent buyers from reclaiming VAT and would therefore restrict sales to ‘lifestyle’ buyers.
“We’re hoping that we’ll have a one-tonne payload for the UK market. We’ll have a higher GVW,” says Mark Barrett, general manager, Harris Maxus. “We’ll have one body style and hopefully two variants.”
The T90EV will be the only electric purpose-built pickup truck on the UK market when it goes on sale. Order books are due to open in August with first deliveries in Q1 2023. Production is due to begin in September, while Maxus says prices for the T90EV will be announced in July.
Maxus MIFA 9
There is more to come from Maxus over the next few years too.
“We’re looking at another van range between the e Deliver 3 and e Deliver 9 – a van sitting in that middle area,” says Barrett. Both van and chassis cab variants will be available and there will be various wheelbase options too.
Barrett adds that there will also be a smaller van, similar to the e Deliver 3, which could appear at the end of 2024 or beginning of 2025. It’s not clear if that will replace the current e Deliver 3 range.
The company is also considering entering the heavy truck market. Harris already holds the Hino franchise for the UK, although no product is currently available for the UK market.
“We have car-type dealers and we also have heavy truck dealers, so we’ve a lot of heavy truck dealers that are open 24/7,” says Barrett. “So, we can offer service levels and items for commercials that can support the product.”
The business is hoping that it will offer a 4x2 tractor unit as well as rigid versions. The truck will also be branded Maxus.
In the 12 months to April, 36% of Maxus registrations in the UK were for electric vehicles, with the company claiming an 11% share of the electric LCV sector.
“I think we are third in the ranking,” says Barrett. “I was hoping to be second or first, but the year’s not over yet.”
The Maxus UK dealer network now numbers 46 sales and service dealers with an additional nine aftersales dealers.
“Then we have approximately 14 open points in the UK that we’re actually looking for dealers in to give us full national coverage,” says Barrett. Those open points include the Bristol area and the west country in general.
Maxus recently launched a £30m EV support programme, its biggest-ever. The package is open to all customers who want to purchase, lease or contract hire an e Deliver 9. The package provides a £15,000 subsidy for each vehicle and is available with the first 2,000 e Deliver 9 orders.