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China beats Toyota HiLux and Ford Ranger to first electric ute: New LDV T60 EV dual-cab to launch early next year

The LDV/Maxus Pick-Up Concept debuts a new and massive front end - clearly inspired by US-style trucks.

Chinese ute brand LDV is poised to beat the Toyota HiLux and Ford Ranger in the electric ute race, with news the first EV dual cab will be launching in New Zealand in 2021, with the company's Australian arm also studying it for our market.

The all-electric ute will go into production in the first half of next year, and will hit New Zealand shores on in the fourth quarter of 2021. And the big news is that an Australian debut is also on the cards for the battery electric workhorse.

LDV falls under different distributors in New Zealand and Australia. Across the ditch, it's handled by Great Lake Motor Distributors, where general manager, Andrew Bayliss, told media that "To be at the cutting edge and leading the EV charge in the commercial vehicle sector is something we are delighted to be celebrating."

In Australia, LDV is handled by Ateco (of Ram and Maserati fame), and the organisation's spokesperson told CarsGuide the group is "working through the processes" required to launch an electric ute in Australia.

“As Australian distributor for LDV, the Ateco Group is heavily involved in discussions regarding future product. However, Australia also has stringent ADR rules and regulations to follow before any vehicle can brought into our market, so we’re working through those processes now,” he said.

While drivetrain details remain thin on the ground for now, LDV does have some experience in electric commercial vehicles. The EV80 van, for example, which is currently under trial in Brisbane, delivers almost 200km in driving range, and will recharge to full in 90 minutes.

That said, we'd expect a new electric setup debut in an electric T60, which is expected to use the LDV/Maxus Pick-Up Concept, revealed at the 2020 Chengdu Auto Show, as a base.

That vehicle most noticeably debuts a new and massive front end - clearly inspired by US-style trucks - with a horizontal-slat grille framed by two vertical LED DRL strips, as evidenced in these pictures captured by China PEV.

The Chinese brand is clearly focusing on off-road ability, too, given the concept appears to sport two recovery points in the the front grille, and has been fitted with a set of chunky BFGoodrich All-Terrain tyres.