Vehicle importer Innovation Automotive has launched the budget-priced Chinese electric van the DFSK EC35 in the UK. 

The EC35 has a price tag of £20,999, excluding VAT and including the government’s plug-in van grant and comes with a five year/75,000 mile warranty, which extends to eight years/100,000 miles for the 39kWh lithium-ion battery that delivers peak power of 60kW (80hp) and torque of up to 200Nm. 

Innovation Automotive is offering the EC35 with a choice of two WLTP-approved ranges, the first being 101 miles with a limited top speed of 62mph. The importer claims more than half of UK vans travel fewer than 15 miles per day, making this option adequate for the majority of customers. Operators needing to travel further on a single charge, however, can opt for an increased range of up to 166 miles, with a limited top speed of 50mph. 

The EC35 has a payload capacity of 1,015kg, a 4.8m3 load volume, load length of 2,470mm, sufficient for two Euro pallets, according to Innovation Automotive, a maximum load width of 1,470mm and a load height of 1,130mm. The load bay is accessed via twin side doors as well as a rear tailgate. It has a turning circle of 11.0m.  

Innovation Automotive says the EC35’s battery can be rapid charged at 40kW to 80% in 60 minutes or to 100% in 90 minutes and can also be charged using a 7kW wallbox in six hours. 

The importer has registered the EC35 under Small Series Type Approval regulations, which limit annual sales to 1,500 units, but Paul Brigden, Innovation Automotive’s CEO, told What Van? if sales look like exceeding this number “we can lift this by moving to Whole Vehicle Type Approval.” 

Brigden says Innovation Automotive will sell its products directly to consumers through its in-house sales team and Business Support Unit but will work with partners in aftersales. 

These include Halfords, whose electric vehicle technicians will carry out service, repair, warranty and recall-related work through 51 of its UK sites (the EC35 has a recommended service interval of 12 months/15,000 miles). 

In addition, the AA will provide customers with three years’ roadside assistance and BCA will cover vehicle preparation and delivery. 

Brigden said: “We have priced the EC35 extremely competitively and will back it up with an aftersales proposition that is unique to the sector.” 

Following the launch of the EC35, Innovation Automotive plans to introduce the DFSK EC31 – an electric chassis cab variant – to the UK. 

Headquartered in Cirencester, the importer has evolved from the Colt Car Company, the former importer of Mitsubishi, which stopped trading in the UK in 2020 and was also based in the Gloucestershire town. Several members of Innovation Automotive’s executive team, including Brigden, operations director Emma Soble, product and marketing director Lucy Collins and commercial director Richard Weller previously worked for Mitsubishi’s UK operation. 

The company’s aim is to become the first multi-brand seller of electric vehicles in the UK. As well as DFSK it plans to market Chinese-built Skywell light commercials in the UK while agreements with other manufacturers are in the pipeline, according to Brigden.  

DFSK’s petrol microvans were previously imported to the UK by DFSK UK, part of Vestatec Automotive Distribution, from 2011 to 2016. Bassadone Automotive Group, which owns Ssangyong Motor UK, subsequently dropped plans to bring DFSK vans to the UK.