Volkswagen's first fully-electric van is about to go on sale in the UK. There is just one catch: it can only travel 132km.
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Volkswagen has launched its first fully-electric version of the iconic Transporter van, but it has presumably been designed for short trips only.

The maximum driving range is just 132km – a fraction of the 600km or more a diesel Volkswagen Transporter can travel on one tank

The eTransporter 6.1 is built by specialising tuning company ABT – away from Volkswagen's main assembly line – but has the backing of the German car company.

The Volkswagen Transporter electric van is about to go on sale in the UK, but for now there are no plans to sell it in Australia.

The eTransporter is priced from £42,060 (AU$78,650); the crew van variant starts from £46,375 (AU$86,730).

By comparison, a diesel-powered Transporter starts at £27,626 (AU$51,670) in the UK, while the crew can version starts from £31,706 (AU$59,300).

Volkswagen Australia says it is interested in electric commercial vehicles, however it says it would "look for a factory right-hand drive solution before we went with an aftermarket one".

The Volkswagen eTransporter has a claimed output of 83kW from a single electric motor, meaning the large van will take 17.4 seconds to get from 0-100km/h, Volkswagen says.

An unspecified battery capacity delivers a claimed driving range of only 132km on the more stringent WLTP test cycle. Supporting up to 50kW DC charging, Volkswagen claims the eTransporter 6.1 can be recharged 85 per cent within about 45 minutes.

This short driving range figure may also factor into the model being unsuitable for larger Australian cities.

The performance figures may be explained by Volkswagen’s focus on not compromising cargo area in the electric version. By fitting compact batteries underneath the load area, cargo space remains at 6.7m3 for the Transporter with a 1001kg payload capacity.

The Volkswagen eTransporter 6.1 utilises regenerative braking that recharges the battery during braking.

The model is also fitted with a modified dual-clutch automatic transmission – an uncommon addition to electric cars – that allows the car to vary between 75 and 100 per cent of its power depending on conditions.