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2023 LDV eT60 review: Electric ute driven

Can Australia’s first electric dual-cab revolutionise the segment? Let’s find out.

22 Nov 2022

Well, here it is: Australia’s first-ever electric ute. Kind of a big deal this. Not least because it foreshadows the start of an EV revolution in Australia’s largest segment but also because, infamously, it’s the ute they said would never work.

“It’s not going to tow your trailer! It’s not going to tow your boat!” cried our previous Prime Minister not so long ago, before adding, with a flourish, that electric vehicles will “end the weekend”.

Then there’s the fact that it comes from Chinese brand LDV. A betting man would have probably backed Ford, Rivian or even Tesla to be the first to offer an electric ute Down Under, but budget-focused brand LDV has got the jump on the established players.

And not just in the world of dual-cabs, either. LDV is on the march when it comes to electrifying light commercial vehicles in Australia and is simultaneously launching an eDeliver 9 electric van and an EV people mover in the Mifa 9.

So in many ways, the eT60 is something of a breakthrough vehicle. Question is, does it offer a compelling enough reason to tempt buyers away from the hordes of existing diesel-powered dual-cabs? And crucially, can it still tow? And how much does it cost? Prepare for a shock on that last point…


How much is it and what do you get?

The basics

There’s no sugar coating this: the eT60 is priced at $92,990.

That makes it more than twice as expensive as a diesel T60 Max – and also means it’s well above the threshold to be eligible for state government incentives available around Australia. Surprised? Us too.

In New Zealand, the eT60 costs $79K drive-away and it’s also eligible for around $8500 worth of subsidies, so some rough maths had suggested Aussie pricing would be somewhere in the $70K bracket. Turns out we were well off.

The eT60 is based on a regular T60 Max Pro, which costs $43,148 for private buyers when paired with an 8-speed automatic gearbox. The ‘Pro’ trim level is the entry-point to the T60 model range and, unlike more expensive ‘Luxe’ versions, it has more of a workhorse focus and features heavier-duty and noticeably firmer suspension.

Being based on the Pro means the eT60 mostly mirrors the lower-spec T60 for standard equipment, but going electric has brought some key differences.

Unlike other 4X4 T60s, this electric version is rear-wheel-drive only. A single electric motor is mounted onto the rear axle which means this isn’t the T60 to buy if you plan on doing some serious off-roading.

The electric motor and control unit also look pretty vulnerable to damage if you were to take the eT60 off-road, given they hang quite low below the rear subframe. Officially, LDV says the approach and departure angles are the same as a regular T60, at 27 and 24 degrees respectively – but ground clearance has dropped from 215mm to 187mm.

The ramp over angle has also dropped, from 21.3 degrees for a T60 Max Pro to 17 degrees for the eT60.

As for performance and range, the eT60 packs a large 88.5kWh battery back between its axles.

The single e-motor produces 130kW/310Nm which is 30kW and 190Nm down on the 160kW/500Nm twin-turbo diesel used throughout the rest of the T60 line-up.

Range is rated at 330km on the strict WLTP cycle but you can expect that number to shrink rapidly when you have a load in the tray or you hitch up the eT60 for towing. Speaking of towing, the eT60 has a braked towing capacity of 1000kg which, again, is well down on the 3000kg rating of a diesel-powered T60 Max.

One area the eT60 trumps its ICE-powered siblings, though, is payload. LDV says you can put 1000kg into the tray of the eT60 where a regular T60 Max Pro’s payload is rated at 935kg.

Recharging times are average for an EV with a battery of this size. The eT60 can accept up to 80kW DC fast charging and LDV claims it can go from 20-80 percent in 45 minutes. It’s likely most buyers will charge their eT60 at home or at a depot, however, and hooking it up to an 11kW wallbox will net a full battery in around 9 hours.

A final point on value? While LDV concedes the eT60’s price breaks new ground for a budget-focused brand, it also says private buyers aren’t its target market.

“The LDV eT60 is aimed at large corporate entities, all three levels of Government and fleet business who’ve committed to emission reductions targets,” says Dinesh Chinnappa, GM of LDV in Australia.

Chinappa also told us LDV has been approached by a number of third-party companies looking to offer leasing deals and other unique arrangements where, for example, the purchaser buys the ute but leases the battery.

So it’s unlikely many buyers will be handing over the full $93K up front.

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How do rivals compare on value?

Being first to market with a fully-electric ute means the eT60 currently has no direct rivals.

There are a host of other electric utes available globally, and some have been earmarked for an Aussie arrival like the Rivian R1T and Ford F150 Lightning, but it’s understood those utes are still years away from hitting our roads.

Another potential rival for LDV is the recently revealed Radar RD6. Radar is a new EV brand from Geely and it’s understood both Volvo and independent vehicle importer Ateco (who also imports the eT60) are both exploring ways to bring it to Australia. For now, though, it seems the eT60 will have the EV dual-cab market all to itself for a while.

It’s the same story when it comes to hybrid alternatives. Australia’s dual-cab market is still dominated by diesel engines to such a degree that even hybrid tech is yet to reach the segment.

Ford has confirmed a plug-in hybrid version of the hugely popular Ranger is in the works and Mitsubishi is also understood to be developing a hybrid version of the next Triton but again both models are years away.

As for an alternative that lines up on price? It might sit at the exact opposite end of the spectrum to an eT60 for green credentials and the ability to reduce your company’s carbon footprint but you could slip into a Ford Ranger Raptor for similar money to the LDV. The Raptor retails for $84,590 and comes with a 292kW/583Nm 3.0-litre V6 twin-turbo petrol.

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Interior comfort & space

LDV has just treated the T60 Max range to a useful MY23 update that adds a host of exterior upgrades like standard sidesteps, a chrome sportscar, roof rails and a new steering wheel design with shift paddles.

For now, though, it seems like the eT60 misses out on a chunk of that new equipment.

While our test ute did have sidesteps and a sportsbar, there were no roof rails and our tester’s steering wheel was plastic rather than the new leather-trimmed design. Our ute was also rolling on 245/65 R17 Giti tyres, whereas the rest of the T60 range has now moved to higher-quality Continental rubber as standard.

Elsewhere, the cabin design mirrors a regular T60 Max Pro which is to say it feels clean, uncluttered and is mostly ergonomically sound.

All of the key controls fall easily to hand, the analogue instruments are clear and easy to read and there are two USB-A ports ahead of the gear selector, which switches from a conventional lever design to a hockey-puck style rotary dial for the eT60. One ergonomic foible?

There’s no reach adjustment for the steering wheel, so the driving position always felt a touch off, no matter how we adjusted the electric driver’s seat.

Storage is decent thanks to large door pockets and twin central cupholders, plus the backseat is one of the roomiest of any dual-cab, but again there are a few missed opportunities.

There’s no ‘frunk’ for example. Pop the bonnet of the eT60 and you’ll discover there’s room for an extra storage cubby on top of the mechanical hardware nestled in the engine bay – but LDV hasn’t made use of the space which, to our minds at least, would seem an ideal spot for storing charging cables and other small items. Instead the charging cables will need to be stored somewhere in the cabin.

There’s also no vehicle-to-load capacity, says LDV. There is a 220V three-prong socket at the rear of the centre console, but it’s unclear how much power it produces, meaning we’d only rely on it for smaller items like laptops.

Being able to use your vehicle to charge appliances is a key drawcard for electric vehicles and especially so for an electric ute where tradies can use the function to charge and even run tools like a drop saw without the need for a portable generator. There is no 12V socket or additional three prong outlet in the eT60’s tray, either.

Equipment-wise, the eT60 scores six-way electric front seats trimmed in fake leather, a large 10.25-inch central touchscreen with wired Apple CarPlay, rain-sensing wipers, a four-speaker sound system and the before-mentioned plastic multi-function steering.

There are also plenty of things you don’t get.

There’s no cruise control, no native Android Auto and no keyless entry or push-button start. And while the seats and some sections of trim are finished in soft-touch leatherette with red stitching, it’s also easy to encounter hard and scratchy cabin plastics which erodes the general sense of quality.

It certainly doesn’t feel like the cabin of a $93,000 ute, let’s put it that way. In fact, the general ambience is superior in a regular T60 Pro, which has just been updated and costs half as much.


There are six airbags, rear parking sensors and a reversing camera, but like the rest of the T60 range key active safety systems are missing. Disappointingly, there’s no autonomous emergency braking, rear-cross traffic alert, lane-keep tech or adaptive cruise.

It’s unclear if the eT60 will be covered by the same 5-star ANCAP rating as the regular range which it achieved back in 2017. If the eT60 requires fresh ANCAP testing, it’s unlikely it will achieve a five star rating given its lack of active safety systems.

It may also prove a tough sell for the "large corporate entities" Chinnappa spoke of, with most now requiring that their fleet vehicles carry a 5-star ANCAP rating and the missing safety features described above.

As for lugging things about, the eT60’s tray is nigh-on identical to a regular T60. It measures 1510mm (W) x 1485mm (L) x 530mm (H) with a 1129mm gap between the wheel arches.

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What’s it like to drive?

Let’s start with the positives.

Fire the eT60 into life, which you do by inserting a key rather than by pushing a button on the dash, and there’s no noisy diesel clatter to contend with. Just eery silence.

The serenity continues at low speed. On the move, the eT60 is noticeably different to its diesel-powered siblings. LDV is quite proud of how much performance its 2.0-litre twin-turbo diesel produces and with 160kW/500Nm on tap – it rightly claims it's one of the most powerful four-cylinder diesels you can buy in any dual-cab.

The problem is that the diesel’s grunt is made high in the rev range and, in traffic or when pulling away from intersections, it actually feels quite sluggish and laggy at low-speed.

Things couldn’t be more different in the eT60. Throttle response is sharper and the initial surge from the electric powertrain is far more alert and eager.

It’s not what we’d call quick, however. Flatten the throttle and the eT60 delivers leisurely acceleration that tapers off as your speed grows.

So while it does feel quite sprightly initially, above 40km/h or so, the eT60 actually verges on slow. We used a stopwatch from the passenger seat to time an unladen eT60 at 16.2 seconds from 0-100km/h and while that’s not the most scientific way to record a ute’s acceleration, it does provide an indication of the level of performance on offer.

By comparison, we’ve clocked a 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesel Ford Ranger at 9.2sec, while a V6 Ranger hits the same marker in 8.2sec – so around half the time of the eT60.

The rest of the dynamic package is equally underwhelming.

The eT60 rides on 17-inch alloys and choosing to base its suspension on the firmer ‘Pro’ set-up has resulted in a ride that’s overly firm and jarring. Minor bumps are felt clearly in the cabin and over bigger dips and compressions the eT60 is stiff-legged, unsettled and can even skip off line.

We’re yet to see if adding a load to the tray helps settle things down, but our brief stint behind the wheel showed the eT60 has some flaws when it comes to ride and handling.

It’s important to note here, the utes we drove were pre-production models. An LDV tech also suggested it’s possible the eT60 may move to the more comfort focused ‘Luxe’ suspension tune that’s available elsewhere in the T60 range. We’ll have to wait and see if that transpires.

Here’s hoping LDV also adds stronger regenerative braking. LDV’s other electric models – the eDeliver 9 van and Mifa people mover – both offer three stages of regen, which gets close to one-pedal driving in their strongest setting.

The eT60 has no adjustable regen modes, and any off-throttle retardation is on the subtle side.

One dynamic highlight is the steering, which seems to mostly sidestep the inconsistent weighting and large dead spot off centre that plagues the regular T60 range.

As for the rest of the dynamics? Mark them down as having plenty of room for improvement.

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Warranty & running costs

The eT60 is covered by a five-year / 130,000 km warranty. That’s two years less than a diesel-powered T60 Max, which has recently moved to a seven-year / 200,000km warranty period.

LDV does include five years of roadside assistance, however, and servicing intervals are every 24 months or 30,000km which is twice as long as a regular T60.

Servicing costs are also reasonable and range between $223 for a minor service and $461 for a major service.

LDV says 10 years of servicing will cost you $1458, although that pricing is indicative only at this stage. Official costs are yet to be locked in.

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So, the eT60 is far from perfect. LDV should be commended for being the first to offer a fully electric dual-cab in Australia, especially considering hybrid tech is yet to reach the segment. LDV really has jumped into the deep end on that front and beaten its competitors to market.

And as a solution for blue chip companies and governments/councils looking to hit strict emissions targets, we can certainly see the appeal – although they'll do it at the expense of some key safety features now considered must-haves in most fleets.

For private buyers, the high price, reduced towing capacity, low levels of standard equipment, missing active safety systems and the mediocre performance and ride and handling mean that for now, Australia’s first EV ute is going to be a tough sell.

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2023 LDV eT60 specifications

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Score breakdown
Safety, value and features
Comfort and space
Engine and gearbox
Ride and handling

Things we like

  • Brings electrification to the dual-cab segment
  • Sharper initial acceleration and response than diesel T60
  • A way for fleets and companies to reduce emissions

Not so much

  • Price is twice as expensive as a diesel-powered T60 Max
  • Lacklustre performance and sub-par ride and handling
  • Reduced towing ability; not as capable off-road
  • Lacks key safety gear like Autonomous Emergency Braking and blind-spot detection

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