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Diesel or electric ute? Why LDV is doing things 'backwards' - introducing electric cars ahead of petrol and diesel vans and utes

LDV is taking an 'EV first' policy with its new models.

Chinese commercial vehicle specialist, LDV, is flipping the car industry on its head. As the automotive world moves to electric vehicles many brands have opted to convert existing petrol- or diesel-powered models to electric - but LDV wants to do it the other way around.

Speaking at the recent launch of the all-new eDeliver 7 van, which will initially be offered with an all-electric powertrain with a diesel engine option arriving later in its lifecycle, LDV Australia General Manager, Dinesh Chinnappa, said the brand wants to lead the electrified market.

The eDeliver 7, which will likely simply be known as the Deliver 7 with a diesel engine, sits on a new modular platform (different from the existing V80 and G10 vans offered by the company) which should allow for an easy switch between the two options. The electric powertrain consists of a 156kW/330Nm electric motor that drives the front wheels, so the diesel will also likely be a small, front-mounted engine.

LDV has confirmed that the design of the new model has been carefully created to accommodate both powertrains too, with the distinctive ‘cube’ grille designed to ensure enough air is fed to an internal combustion engine while not adversely impacting the aerodynamics of the electric version.

The same is expected to be true for the brand’s second electric ute, the production version of the GST 4x4 Pick Up revealed in Shanghai earlier in 2023. It will enter production as an electric vehicle and only after that is launched will LDV confirm its business case for a petrol or diesel variant.

This EV first policy is driven by LDV’s home market, with EV sales booming in China thanks to government incentives to switch to an electric model. However, Chinnappa admitted it was “hugely unlikely” that Australia will have nationwide EV buying incentives and LDV is not pushing for any.

The eDeliver 7 will arrive in Australian showrooms in early 2024. The eDeliver 7 will arrive in Australian showrooms in early 2024.

Instead, Chinnappa and the LDV team at Ateco Group, which distributes the brand in Australia, believes the adoption of EVs, especially commercial models, needs to be driven by customer demand not incentives. Even though that will likely mean a slower uptake in the local market, Chinnappa is confident LDV is on the right path.

“It will happen, probably slower than other markets, but it will happen,” he said.

The eDeliver 7 will arrive in Australian showrooms in early 2024, joining the brand’s existing electric offerings, the eT60 ute, eDeliver 9 large delivery van and Mifa 9 people mover.

The production version of the GST 4x4 Pick Up will also arrive in 2024, but probably not until the second half of the year, with more details and a finished look not expected to be announced until sometime in the new year.