The UK’s first all-electric pick-up has finally arrived and we’ve had the chance to drive the Maxus T90EV, says Dan Gilkes.
Unveiled at last year’s CV Show, the Maxus T90EV has been arriving with dealers across the UK, though this is our first chance to get meaningful time behind the wheel. The specification has been tailored to the UK market since that initially showing, with the truck now capable of handling up to 1-tonne of payload. Importer Harris Group reports strong interest in the pick-up, with dealers already taking orders for more than 1,000 of the trucks.
The T90EV is powered by an 88.5kWh battery pack, promising a potential driving range of up to 220 miles. Our test route, from Dublin to the west of Ireland above Galway and along the Wild Atlantic Way, was hit by high winds and snow, which certainly did the batteries no favours. However, the truck still promised around the 200-mile mark and we only required one charging top-up on the journey across Ireland.
The battery powers a 150kW electric motor, that is attached to the rear axle only. Maxus now says that a four-wheel drive version will have to wait for a new platform, expected in 2025. Just over 200hp should provide a fair slug of acceleration, but even unladen the T90EV tips the scales at 2.3-tonnes, so there is little of the neck-snapping acceleration that you might expect from an electric truck.
Progress is reasonably swift though, even in the Eco mode that holds power down slightly. Normal offers a little bit more push and Power delivers the full 150kW to the motor. There are no options when it comes to regenerative braking, which is sufficient to slow the truck for corners on a country road, but won’t provide one-pedal driving in town. The T90EV comes with the ability to charge at up to 11kW on AC power, taking nine hours to get from 5-100%. Alternatively, a 7kW home charger will take up to 13 hours for the same recharge. Hook up to a rapid DC charger however and the truck can accept up to 80kW, giving a 20-80% charge in just 45 minutes.
Load carrying capacity
That show truck last year was not UK specification, so had a limited payload that would have had the VAT man rubbing his hands together. However, Maxus has re-plated the T90EV for UK customers with a 1.0-tonne payload, depriving Customs of a 20% boost on the price for those that are registered. The truck can also tow up to 1.0-tonne if desired.
Though only offered as a double cab, the Maxus delivers a reasonable pick-up bed, with a load space that is 1,485mm long and 1,510mm wide.
In the cab
There is just the one trim level, making ordering simple. The seats are covered in an artificial leather, which should be easy to wipe clean, however seat heating, an essential in the winter months, is an option. The cab’s heating and air conditioning system can also be a bit all or nothing, though it coped well with the wintery conditions.
The truck’s interior is spacious, thanks in part to the lack of a gear lever. Instead, there is a rotary control offering D, N and R settings. Oddly, there is no P setting, you simply pull on the traditional handbrake once into neutral.
You get a 10.25” touchscreen in the middle of the dash, but you’ll need to hook up a smartphone for sat-nav. That’s not a problem though, with Apple and Android compatibility as standard. You do get a reversing camera and sensors, making parking simple and the truck comes with a host of airbags for driver and passenger.
On the road
As mentioned, the T90EV is not left behind by other traffic and it handles motorways and country roads with equal ease. The Maxus is no more bouncy than any other unladen pick-up and the handling is perfectly fine, though there is little feedback through the electrically-assisted steering wheel.
It is possible to hustle the pick-up along if you are in a hurry, but it is less stressful to take it back a notch and coast along on the electric motor’s instantly available torque.
We didn’t have the chance to try the truck off-road, though it handled constant snow and slush with ease. Whether the lack of four-wheel drive will be a problem for buyers will depend on their operation, though there are plenty of all-wheel driven pick-ups that never leave the asphalt.
Perhaps of more concern is the ground clearance, which is considerably less than some 4×4 trucks, as the batteries and that drive motor both hang down below the chassis. Again though, for many buyers that probably won’t be the end of the world.
While there are electric pick-ups in North America, most noticeably Ford’s F150 Lightning, the Maxus has the market pretty much to itself here for a while. There are plenty of potential customers for the pick-up, keen to show their environmental credentials and not too concerned about serious off-roading.
As mentioned, Maxus reports a strong order bank for the pick-up already, with more than 1,000 orders taken. That’s from a limited supply of around 1,500 T90EV’s that will make it to these shores this year. If you think that this is the answer to your transport problems, it might be worth a trip to the local dealer as soon as possible.
Van User Rating – 4.0