By Stephen Macharia
In the competitive landscape of automotive innovation, a revolutionary contender is now in Kenya: the JAC T8 electric Double Cab Pickup. A product of JAC Motors, a Chinese auto brand, the T8 pickup is decorated with reins of innovation and touches of European technology. Volkswagen owns about 75% of JAC Motors.
The electric pick-up is announcing its presence in Kenya, further adding to the growing number of electric vehicles (EVs) in Kenya. It is a herald of change. AutoNews Magazine reviewed the JAC electric bakkie (a moniker for light vehicles with an open part at the back for carrying goods) and now takes you through its design, electrifying performance, and transformative impact of this marvel.
Design and performance
The double-cab electric pickup retains the unmistakable shape of its internal combustion engine version. Its design is captivating – a fusion of modernity and conventional rugged durability. JAC T8 design is crafted to not just turn heads but also announce an imposing aura on the road. It comes fitted with LED headlights, illuminating the path ahead with ease. With a distinctive front grille, an emblem of style, the T8 bakkie conceals within it an eco-friendly drive train. From afar, it looks like its ICE counterpart.
Step inside the T8 and experience comfort and spaciousness. The vehicle is equipped with leather seats that reveal a tactile sense of luxurious ergonomic design. Seats invite passengers to sink in and enjoy comfortable rides no matter the distance.
On the dashboard, the T8 boasts a large screen with Bluetooth capabilities. The cabin has black material that contrasts with the glowing lights fitted on several components on the dashboard. Its jewel-like hazard button, nestled at the centre of the dashboard, serves as a small detail that divulges the T8’s big promise of aesthetics and function.
Beneath the surface, the T8 is fitted with an electric powertrain that defies convention. In a masterstroke of engineering, the T8 has a rear-mounted driving motor that propels the vehicle from 0-100km/h in mere six seconds. This acceleration, considering the weight of the vehicle, demonstrates the instant power of the electric motor.
The T8 also comes with a regenerative braking feature. The system recaptures energy as the vehicle glides to a stop or when going downhill. This energy is converted to electric charge and stored in the vehicle battery. This ensures that drivers can achieve more range (a distance an EV can move on a single charge).
Endowed with a range of 330 kilometres, the T8 claims freedom from the fetters of frequent recharging. The vehicle can be charged at home or at commercial charging facilities installed in various parts of the country. Its charging port has an uncanny resemblance to a fuel cap. In eco mode, the T8 stretches its range. With these features, sustainability becomes a defining feature of the JAC T8.
Cargo, safety and Practicality
In the realm of utility, the T8 accommodates four passengers and a driver. The cargo bed can carry an additional one tonne of cargo. That makes it flexible for multiple uses. Safety weaves into the T8’s DNA. It has four airbags and comes fitted with front and rear disc brakes provide. The vehicle has a network of parking sensors and HD cameras that compliments safety. Its rear has a parking camera and a set of sensors while the front bumper houses other sensors. The T8 also has a unique safety: at low speeds, it produces a hum that warns pedestrians, a testament to JAC Motors’ commitment to shared roads.
The JAC T8 Double Cab Electric Pickup enters the arena with a price tag of approximately 9 million shillings. However, the price is expected to drop owing to government incentives aimed at promoting e-mobility. JAC T8 electric pickup owners do not just buy a bakkie but invest in a greener future as the world bids adieu to the era of exhaust fumes.