5 things you need to know about the Volkswagen ABT eTransporter 6.1

A closer look at the performance, charging and tech features of Volkswagen’s all-electric van

Volkswagen’s first electric-powered van is now available to buy in the UK and across Europe. 70 years after the Transporter first rolled off the production line, the Volkswagen ABT eTransporter 6.1 has arrived, marking the next evolutionary milestone for the iconic van.

Available in panel van and Kombi crew van versions, the new ABT eTransporter 6.1 was developed in conjunction with ABT e-Line. The ABT Group already has electric drivetrain experience thanks to its work in Formula E.

“ABT is a family run German business with which the Volkswagen Group and its brands have worked over a number of years, both with its performance and racing arm as well as ABT e-Line, the part of the business developing electrification,” says Alice Axtell, product manager at Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles. “For us, partnering with them was about seeking efficiencies through partnership to bring a product to market.”

But what can business owners expect from the ABT eTransporter 6.1? Here are some of the key things you need to know about Volkswagen’s zero-emission van.

1. Enough range for inner-city journeys

The ABT eTransporter 6.1 is equipped with an electric motor that delivers a maximum power output of 109bhp and 200Nm of torque.

The van features regenerative braking, which recovers energy lost when braking and decelerating to feed back to the battery for later use. The modified dual-clutch transmission (DSG) will deliver 75% power in standard driving mode to maximise range, with 100% power available through the kickdown function.

According to research conducted by Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles for development of the larger e-Crafter, most van drivers cover between 40 and 60 miles per day. With that in mind, the ABT eTransporter 6.1’s 37.3kWh battery, which gives an all-electric range of up to 82 miles, makes it ideal for last-mile urban delivery and local businesses on their daily runarounds.

2. No compromise on load space

The ABT eTransporter 6.1’s electric powertrain doesn’t mean compromising on interior load space – its batteries are mounted under the floor, leaving room for a 6.7m3 cargo area. It can also take a healthy payload of up to 1,001kg, rising to a total combined load weight of 3,770kg when using a trailer.

LED lighting is standard in the cargo area, while there are eight fastening aids to help keep everything secure inside. There are also two modes to aid drivers: ‘postman’, which locks the load doors when the ignition is on and can only be unlocked from within the van; and ‘workshop’, which secures your personal equipment and paperwork safely in the cab, but unlocks the load area so you can load and unload without worrying about the front of the vehicle.

3. Charge to 80% in as little as 45 minutes

The ABT eTransporter 6.1’s CCS (Combing Charging System) socket facilitates both DC and AC charging, and for the latter, a Type 2 charging cable comes with the van as standard. It supports AC charging of up to 7.2kW, and can be fully charged using a wallbox in roughly five and a half hours.

For a faster charging option, you can reach up to 80% capacity in 45 minutes through DC charging and the CCS connector. This option is ideal for busy delivery drivers covering more miles per day, and ensures they’ll be able to get back on the road quickly. Checking battery charge status is simple thanks to a power meter situated where the fuel gauge would normally be. You’ll find an indication of the battery’s current charge level, plus the optimum speeds and acceleration for economical driving, and the regenerative braking system’s current status.

4. Loaded with cutting-edge tech

The tech with the ABT eTransporter 6.1 includes a DAB radio with 6.5-inch touchscreen and Bluetooth connectivity. The dashboard boasts two USB-C ports and SD card slots, while the infotainment system is compatible with the Volkswagen AppConnect system, allowing drivers to pair their smartphones and navigate apps using the touchscreen through Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.

It’s also well-served when it comes to driver assistance. Front Assist detects if something gets too close, then prepares and partially applies the brakes to aid the driver. Crosswind Assist activates if the vehicle passes 50mph, while the driver steering recommendation function kicks in to stabilise the vehicle (for example, intervening in the event of corner oversteer).

5. Priced from just £42,060

The ABT eTransporter 6.1 panel van starts from £42,060, with an Advance trim version priced from £45,360. The kombi crew and kombi crew Advance vans are available from £46,375 and £49,985 respectively. All of these prices, it should be noted, exclude VAT, on the road costs and the government’s Plug-in Van Grant. Advance trim models boast features such as 17-inch alloy wheels, electrically foldable door mirrors, automatic LED headlights, rain-sensing windscreen wipers, a heated windscreen, auto-dimming rear-view mirror and parking sensors at the front and rear.

Thanks to their status as zero-emission vans, all variants of the ABT eTransporter 6.1 are exempt from VED road tax and low emission zone charges, meaning lower running and servicing costs for your business. The battery also comes with an eight-year or 100,000-mile warranty (whichever arrives sooner) and the usable capacity is also guaranteed to 70% within this same time period. In addition, the Volkswagen Van Centre network offers expert support, finance and servicing packages to suit a variety of different business needs