Electric utility surprise
by Andy Bryenton
A new species has been spotted at the Auckland Zoo but also threading its way through the narrow dockland lanes around the America’s Cup Village. Representatives will be discovered cruising around orchards and vineyards or helping out on golf courses and resorts.
It’s not an exotic creature, however, but the new Goupil G4, a small, compact electric truck, which tucks into the market where that old warhorse (or war pony) the Suzuki Super Carry 1000 once dominated.
With Japanese Kei-car dimensions and 135 kilometres of range on a single charge, the Goupil can be certified for road use but is equally at home on gravel or the turf.
It’s silent, efficient, quick to charge and comes with three different battery options. However, that’s not the real surprise or the best thing about this small utility vehicle.
While it won’t conquer the truly rough terrain, which UTV side-by-sides manage, this tiny truck is made to be modular, with many different rear-tray cargo fit-outs.
That means hauling tools and equipment in a closed workplace like a vineyard, resort homestay or fruit orchard can be switched out for a power sprayer quite easily.
There’s even the option for a fully refrigerated ‘backpack’ turning the G4 into a small chiller truck to take goods to the local farmers market or
to be dropped off at a central processing hub.
Goupil’s latest (the French company spent 15 years refining the preceding G3 into what we see today) may not have flat out speed like a Tesla, but it makes up for this with two aspects that viticulture and fruit growers may appreciate a little more.
Firstly, it can carry 1,200 kilograms, and secondly, while its cab can accommodate two adults, it’s still only 1.2 metres wide.
It means that you can now fit a zero-emissions small truck down narrow lanes that were only accessible to a quad before.
Also, unlike many small vehicles of its kind, it can wear a number plate, even if its top speed is more suited for country byways and city neighbourhoods than the open motorway.