NSW-based network company Transgrid has rolled out its first all-electric work ute, putting the EV to the test up and down its 13,000km transmission grid.

Transgrid, which has a work transport fleet of 400 diesel vehicles and 28 passenger vehicles, on Saturday showed off its branded version of what is also Australia’s first all-electric ute (not counting conversions): the newly released eT60, brought to the country by the Chinese brand LDV.

The LDV eT60 double-cab ute has a 130kW/310Nm electric motor and a 88.5kWh battery pack, which offers a range of around 330km, or about half of that if towing a one tonne load.

Transgrid fleet manager Ryan Thomas says the NSW trial will put the electric vehicle to the test to see if it meets the network giant’s operational requirements.

“We’ll be gauging the impacts for our people working in the field, including charging and towing requirements, so we can better understand the issues that will make the transition to electric utes as seamless as possible,” Thomas said.

Transgrid, being a business dedicated to the delivery of electricity, has good reason to be heavily invested the switch to EVs. A world where the vast majority of passenger and work cars are powered by plugging in to the grid can only be a good thing for savvy network owners.

That said, there is much work to be done to prepare for this brave new world of all-electric transport. Trialling an electric ute in your own work fleet is a decent start.

Speaking from Transgrid’s Wallgrove depot in western Sydney on Saturday, CEO Brett Redman said the network was building “a fit-for-future” grid that would minimise climate impact and benefit millions of Australians.

“We’re cognisant that those efforts must include our own backyard,” he said.

“Our future will be powered by clean energy and this trial is part of Transgrid’s commitment to reach net zero by 2040, including eliminating all emissions from our passenger and commercial fleet by 2030.”

Federal energy minister Chris Bowen was at Wallgrove on Saturday, too, to welcome the launch of the Transgrid trial as an endorsement of the fact that electric vehicles are cleaner and cheaper to run.

“It’s good to see Transgrid making this smart investment to get the first commercially available electric utes on the road for their business,” Bowen said.

“The government is providing the policy settings we need to encourage the uptake of EV’s – and we look forward to more businesses following Transgrid’s lead and getting bang for buck in their fleets.”

Minister Bowen has indicated that he wants to accelerate the uptake of EVs in Australia with the government’s National Electric Vehicle Strategy however the strength of the eventual scheme is already coming under attack.

Last week Toyota was slammed for yet another attempt to stall Australia’s shift away from highly polluting vehicles after the government published submissions to its much-anticipated National Electric Vehicle Strategy on Friday.

Minister Bowen will need to ignore those voices who hope to slow the transition and instead look to regions like Europe where good policies have resulted in the quadrupling of EV market share in the last quarter of 2022.

And while the LDV eT60 is the first and only electric ute to be shipped to Australian shores, so far, there are plenty more to come, including from Tesla, Ford, Rivian and Ram.

In the meantime, local Australian start-up Roev, is getting plenty of interest in its electric ute conversion program, which has plans to convert 1,000 petrol and diesel utes to electric within a the space of one year.

The Brisbane headquartered company will focus initially on completing conversions of Australia’s two bestselling ute models – the Toyota Hilux and Ford Ranger. Conversions will be available for all body types for model years between 2016 and 2022.

Elsewhere, EV conversion company SEA electric has announced a partnership with Europe’s Mevco in a $1 billion deal to supply 8,500 electrified Toyota Hilux and Lancruiser vehicles to the mining industry. The largest deal of its kind in the world.

Extracted in full from: Network giant launches electric work ute trial in first step to dump 400 diesel vehicles (thedriven.io)