The vehicle has some slick technology — the sort usually associated with the aviation and motor racing industries. That means it is very lightweight, but don’t expect to belt along at 120km/h. The vehicle has a top speed of 58km/h.
The styling is different from anything we’ve seen. The cabin doors open in an upward arc to make access easier. But you need to drive this vehicle to appreciate it. “It’s comfortable and handles like a car,” says our tester. “You feel really comfortable and secure. The cab is deceptively roomy.”
There is plenty of space in the front and all the controls — windscreen wipers, indicators, horn, forward/reverse selector, speedo and clock — are where you would expect them to be. But when you turn the key, don’t wait for the engine to fire. This vehicle has a 48V, six-kilowatt (eight horsepower) electric motor (SEPEX with regenerative braking) powered by six eight-volt, lead acid, deep cycle batteries with automatic filling from a single reservoir.
The Diabline is a dream to manoeuvre. Our testers were able to reverse into tight spaces. It has the same turning circle as a general multi-purpose turf truck and, during the test, it left no marks on the turf. It even copes on waterlogged ground and braking is secure too with its four-wheel hydraulic system.
Made of aluminium, the Diabline’s monocoque chassis design offers maximum platform area with the minimum weight. A two-tiered load deck arrangement gives a total 4.7sq m of usable load space and a carrying capacity of 625kg. The basic chassis can be used for various applications; although we tested the Alu Van, other options include a modular flatbed, standard tipper and park and garden versions. There’s even a shuttle bus configuration for whizzing staff or visitors around sites.
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