The Maxus T90EV is the first electric pick-up truck to go on sale in the UK. It will also be the only electric pick-up truck for a good number of years too.
That’s not because the Maxus T90EV is ahead of the curve, but because there’s not many reasons why you’d want a pick-up truck EV in its current guise.
That’s despite it doing what most pick-up trucks do - carry a 1,000kg payload. What it doesn’t do is go off-road all that well. Currently, the Maxus T90EV is two wheel drive only. There will be a 4x4 version coming later (more on that later), but at present this is really an on-road pick-up.
Aside from having the important one tonne payload, the range of an EV is arguably the most important feature. Here, on paper, at least, the T90EV has a very acceptable 220 mile range.
The battery is a 88.5kWh unit, powering a 150kW electric motor. That’s the equivalent of 204hp.
Charging can be completed in as little as 45 minutes for a top-up from 20% to 80% thanks to 80kW charging capabilities. The T90EV can also do 11kW charging on a AC wallbox.
In theory, the Maxus T90EV has a decent set of off-road abilities. It gets a 27-degree approach angle and a 24-degree departure angle. That’s not quite up there with a Ford Ranger Raptor or the new Volkswagen Amarok, but it is pretty acceptable.
However… the 150kW electric motor is located at the rear of the truck, making it rear wheel drive. It also hangs ominously low, limiting ground clearance to just 187mm. Most other pick-up trucks like the Isuzu D-Max have a 220mm clearance, while the Ford Ranger is slightly higher at 232mm.
The T90EV batteries and rear motor look so low, we have to wonder if it would struggle to go further off-road than most SUVs. It’s not a good start to the makings of a decent pick-up truck.
That’s a good question, and one that Maxus clearly needed to address after launching the T90EV. Initially it was said to have a 740kg payload. That’s well below the norm for a pick-up. Crucially it is also below the threshold that qualifies it as a commercial vehicle – allowing you to claim back the VAT.
Maxus went back to the drawing board and have improved its payload to 1000kg. It’s now able to be bought without the VAT. Something really important for UK pick-up truck customers. It didn't even require any fine-tuning either, just some rubber stamping from the good old paper pushers as the truck was always capable of carrying such weights. It was a cautious value from the Chinese manufacturer, and one which UK importer Harris Maxus quickly addressed.
Size wise, the T90EV is about the size of your standard truck. It has a length of 5365mm, measures 1900mm wide and 1809mm high. Compare that to the new Volkswagen Amarok which is 5350mm long, 1910mm wide and 1884mm high, and you can see that the Maxus T90EV will have a fairly chunky road presence as well as being useful.
The loadspace measures 1,485mm in length, 1,510mm width and is 530mm deep. That makes it shorter than an Amarok (1624mm x 1227mm x 529mm) but significantly wider.
Towing is so important for a pick-up truck. Usually most customers just want to pull a small 750kg trailer, but occasionally you’ll see a range of plant equipment on the back of larger trailers too.
Most UK pick-up trucks now have a towing capacity of up to 3.5 tonnes (3500kg). This is the benchmark for a diesel. Electric commercial vehicles, however, can’t quite get to that number just yet. In fact, several vans don’t have towing abilities at all, and most are limited to just 750kg. But the T90EV does have a decent towing capacity of up to 1,500kg for a brakes trailer and 750kg for an unbraked trailer. That will allow it to tow the majority of things most people will need a pick-up for. But be aware if you pull bigger items, the T90EV isn’t up to the job.
If you need to get into the numbers properly, the Maxus T90EV has a gross vehicle weight of 3,300kg. The gross train weight is 4050kg. That means you can have a full payload and tow a small trailer up to 750kg. But, if you want to tow 1500kg you’ll have to sacrifice some of the payload in the truck.
Maxus vehicles have been getting progressively better with time and the T90EV is true to form. While this is their first pick-up truck it is definitely trying to be more SUV than commercial vehicle. The steering is light but the ride is quite firm, even for a large commercial vehicle.
It rides well, considering its weight and is definitely helped by that EV cliché of having low slung batteries to improve the centre of gravity and therefore the handling. It feels quite dynamic.
However, the batteries beind spread across the lenght of the vehicle do make for an unusual balance. The weight distribution feels a bit off. The front, without its engine, is lighter than you'd expect which means there's less steering feel and grip. The rear also feels a bit flighty. It's prone to bouncing around a bit - something which some weight in the load bed would resolve, but that might increase the issues at the front.
It's not necessarily a bad thing, it's just different. For all we know, all electric pick-up trucks will feel like this. There just aren't any others on the market to find out. Yet.
The weight of the truck would normally be something of an an issue. It tips the scales at 2300kg, but thankfully the 150kW motor provides plenty of power. It’s probably no coincidence that the output closely matches that of Ford’s top-spec Ranger engine. There is, however, just 375Nm of torque which isn't a great deal when the Ford Rangers and Volkswagen Amaroks of this world have 500Nm.
One last thing on the noise. As an electric vehicle you'd expect the Maxus T90EV to be quiet. Well, it isn't. It's quiet enough, but don't expect to be wowed by the silence. The electric motor and the synthetic pedestrian noise is very noticable to begin with, but soon blends into the hum from the road. On the whole, it is quiter than a diesel, it just not whisper quiet.
How can we be polite about this? It’s early days for Maxus and the T90EV. This is only a 4x2, so it should get better when a 4x4 is available.
We took the T90EV down a couple of farm tracks, some dry and some wet. It can deal with the dry stuff no problem – but most pick-up trucks can these days. It’s high kerbweight gives it plenty of bite into the ground and as long as you maintain momentum it isn’t much of a problem. When the ground is a bit wetter and more slippery, the lack of four-wheel-drive is an issue.
The instant torque means you can quickly spin up the wheels – often making matters worse. The traction control is a bit too slow to help out too, so you really do have to proceed with caution.
If you’re intending on using the T90EV on the road and occasionally on relatively firm but uneven ground it won’t be a problem. But as it is, the Maxus T90EV electric pick-up truck isn’t a go-anywhere off-roader.
Ultimately it will come down to tyres though. The traction control is a bit erratic. It's very eager to help you out by cutting power which is a little frustrating. But with some decent rubber there's no reason why the T90EV couldn't do most jobs required of a light-use 4x4.
The T90EV isn’t exactly overflowing with safety systems. There’s no lane keeping or pedestrian systems. But driver, passenger and curtain airbags are standard.
Maxus has been gradually introducing fast charging into its electric vehicles like the Maxus eDeliver 3 and Maxus eDeliver 9, so the T90EV is no slouch when it comes to charging. Newer models including the Maxus eDeliver 5 and the Maxus eDeliver 7 are expected to charge at even higher rates.
The T90EV can charge at a maximum rate of 80kW - that means a charge from 20% to 80% on a DC supply will take around 45 minutes. A full charge from a standard single-phase 7kW household supply, however, will take around 13 hours, and if you can use an 11kW charger it will take around 11 hours.
On paper it's pretty decent at charging then. In reality during our test of it, hooked up to a substantial 115kW charger and a 350kW charger we only ever managed to get as much as 62kW at the truck's charging peak.
In terms of appearance it's a pretty mixed affair. With the spec and equipement, T90EV is trying really hard to be a premium pick-up. But it falls short with the quality of the materials being used. The plastics are a bit too hard and scrathy, while the controls feel a little too filmsy. It's not all bad, though.
There’s just one trim available in the Maxus T90EV which is called Elite, but it’s pretty generous with the spec.
All models get air conditioning, reversing cameras, parking sensors and automatic lights and wipers as standard. There’s also fake leather seats, body coloured bumpers and door handles and 17-inch alloys wheels. The big ticket item is the 10.25-inch touchscreen. It allows smartphone mirroring with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as well as Bluetooth connections.
That's just as well, because the Maxus built-in infotainment system is a clunky and confusing thing to navigate. Delving into the menus requires a considerable amount of knowledge. You'll get used to it, but for the uninitiated its confusing. Best stick with the smartphone connection.
Options including a stainless steel sports bar to make the pick-up look a bit more macho. There’s also a loadspace roller shutter cover, tow bar and a front winch pack available through dealers. If you do plan to take the Maxus T90EV 4x2 off-road its best to specify it with the all-terrain tyre option.
If you really want to go zero emission and think an electric pick-up will suit your needs then the T90EV is the only place to look for now.
The range is acceptable, and with normal on-road driving you’ll even get close to the WLTP range.
It’s off-roading abilities are severely compromised by the rear-drive only driveline, but it’s capable enough to venture on down some easier tracks.
If you’re an occasional visitor to sites, live or work off a muddy or gravel roads then it could well tick the box. Equally if you just want to do road miles in a VAT-reclaimable, low BIK (benefit in kind) pick-up that’s zero emission then look no further. This pick-up is a tax conscious customer’s dream.
The Maxus T90EV starting price of £49,950 is at the high-end of the pick-up segment. And its £59,940 with the VAT.
You could get a top of the range Ford Ranger Platinum, Volkswagen Amarok or even a Ford Ranger Raptor for similar money. But as it is electric, the T90EV is a very different proposition. But not necessarily a bad one.
Maxus expect a T90EV with four-wheel-drive to arrive in 2024. However, it will be based on a different platform to this current vehicle. In other words. It’s an entirely new pickup truck.
|Battery Capacity (kWh)||88.5kWh|
|WLTP Range combined||220 miles|
|Max front axle load||1200kg|
|Max rear axle load||2100kg|
|Towing capacity (braked trailer)||750 (1500kg)|
|Charging plug Type 2||11kW|
|Charging Plug CCS||80kW|
|Charging time (DC 20-80%) min-25℃||45min|