The smallest addition to the Volkswagen Commercial Range could be the e-Load Up! mini electric van, but it might end up being its biggest. We took a look at The CV Show in Birmingham and found out the main purpose of this tiny workhorse.
The e-Load Up! wants to solve a lot of problems in one fell swoop. While Crafters and Transporters might come in useful for those who need to carry tools for every eventuality in their field, or for those who need to move huge amounts of cargo from one place to another. They can, however, feel a bit cumbersome to those who don’t need all that much space, but still need the practicality of a flat cargo area.
One of the ideal scenarios that Volkswagen sees the need for an e-Load Up! style van is in the growing market for self-employed delivery drivers. Amazon, for example, are just one of the companies who are now using on-demand drivers who go to a local facility to pick up small parcels that can be quickly dispatched and delivered within an hour. [Full disclosure: I have personally used Amazon Prime Now on numerous occasions and seen the driver cramming a family car to the brim with deliveries only to fall short of usable space].
Volkswagen, therefore, sees this Up! model as a perfect use case for a small fleet of eco-friendly, quick and flexible delivery vehicles that have a surprising amount of room in the back when you remove the second row of seats.
The van version of the Up! is based on the 5-door e-Up! model and the conversion into a panel van isn’t as strange as it might sound. As streets become more and more crowded by the ever-increasing demand for personal vehicles over public transportation, delivery vans face the challenges of fighting their way through the hordes. The e-Load Up! takes on that challenge by keeping the same exterior dimensions of the e-Up!, but with a 1,400 litre storage space (up from 951 litres in the public model). You can also fold the passenger seat down for additional storage space and convenience meaning you can make full use of all the unused space in your vehicle.
Additional storage space aside, Volkswagen say that the miniature van can travel for 99 miles before needing to recharge – plenty for a demanding, lengthy delivery route. This could be enough to convince a major company to put money in to a fleet of small, light commercial vehicles.
The cargo management system means that you can customise the interior of the van in many ways – the configuration that we saw at The CV Show was a metal bulkhead between the main cabin and the cargo area.
Volkswagen asks, “How big does a van need to be?” The answer, of course, is the right size for the job at hand. “Too big is inefficient,” they continue, “And so is too small. In the case of an agile city delivery vehicle, which is just as suitable for service technicians as it is for couriers, pizza delivery drivers and social services, 3.54 metres is fine. The result is called the load Up!”
"[For] an agile city delivery vehicle, which is just as suitable for service technicians as it is for couriers, pizza delivery drivers and social services, 3.54 metres is fine. The result is called the load Up!"
VW’s Commercial team also make a very good point that a small fleet of sister vehicles can cover more ground than one, large commercial vehicle. If you have a Crafter van with a large volume of deliveries to make, you’ll only be able do your job one parcel at a time. With two or three smaller vehicles, you can be making drop offs at multiple locations in multiple parts of the city.
Another point is that when you’re loading up a large vehicle, the first ten parcels have to wait for the entire van to be filled before setting off. The first 10 parcels needs to wait for the next 100 before being dispatched. With the e-Load Up! you can load small amounts of packages in to the cargo area and set off immediately while the others get loaded in to the next van.
To top it off, the all-electric vehicle can also tread in to zero-emissions zones in places like London with more cities expected to introduce pollution-defeating zones in the not-too-distant future as well.
With an almost silent electric motor that is capable of producing a maximum power output of 60kW (82PS) this van is designed to be practical before power. It’s expected that the majority of driving will be done on slower roads and congested areas where supercar power isn’t needed, or possible.
One nice touch for the e-Load Up! is that it can charge to 80% in just 30 minutes. So you can be back on the road for another 80 miles straight after your lunch break.
If you missed it, we were at the Birmingham NEC for the UK debut of the new Crafter, and it really does make an impactful change over the previous generation. That being said, all of the models on display in the NEC were huge crowd pleasers – including the e-Load Up! – and the models here were definitely the star of the show along with the other models on display on the Volkswagen stand such as the VW Amarok V6, Transporter Sportline, and the popular Caddy Black Edition.