LEVC VN5 range-extender hybrid van: pictures, specs and details

New LEVC electric range-extender van uses London taxi technology and will be known as the VN5

LEVC VN5 electric van

The LEVC VN5 hybrid van is available to order now, with first deliveries due before the end of the year. The alphanumeric name stands for the word ‘Van’ and the model's cargo space of five cubic metres; the VN5 is based on the LEVC TX electric London taxi.

Three models are available: Business, City and Ultima, with prices starting from £46,500 – or less than £500 a month on a five-year/100,000-mile contract-hire scheme. All versions get LED lights, cruise control, a nine-inch touchscreen and dual-zone climate control – as well as a three-phase 11kW on-board charger.

City trim adds front and rear parking sensors, extra airbags and a heated front windscreen, while Ultima gets a rear-view camera, metallic paint and a faster 22kW on-board charger. It also boasts what LEVC calls ‘luxury seats’. On top of this, customers can add a variety of option packs, such as a Comfort Pack and Safety Pack.

Being based on the latest London taxi, the VN5 benefits from a compact 10.1-metre turning circle. The van can accommodate two EuroPallets, with a payload of 830kg. As expected, all models get a single sliding door and a set of 60:40 split-opening rear doors.

The VN5 uses the same range-extender hybrid set-up as its taxi counterpart: a Volvo-sourced three-cylinder petrol engine connected to a battery and electric motor. A claimed electric range of just over 58 miles is quoted, alongside a total range of 300 miles before refuelling, with the engine helping to charge the batteries on the move.

Those batteries are located in the van’s floor, with charging done through CCS and CHAdeMO ports located in the nose. LEVC claims a full charge on an off-peak tariff costs less than £2, while a 50kW fast charger can replenish the batteries in around 30 minutes.

The VN5 represents LEVC’s first foray into the commercial-vehicle market. The company aims for light-commercial vehicles (LCVs) to eventually make up 70% of its output of around 20,000 vehicles a year. LEVC is also targeting expansion into 20 markets by the end of 2020.

The van was first revealed in June 2019 at the Institute of Engineering and Technology by London mayor Sadiq Khan and LEVC's CEO Joerg Hofmann, as part of a wider announcement on the capital's electric-vehicle infrastructure. LEVC says the van has been designed to meet increasing demand around the world for environmentally friendly electrified commercial transport.

Speaking at the launch, Hoffman said: "Every day there are 65,000 unique LCV journeys into London, but mobility must not come at the expense of air quality. London’s ULEZ is a blueprint and all major UK cities will introduce a Clean Air Zone by 2020. There is huge demand for a medium-sized zero-emissions-capable light van and the solution we offer will be more than capable of meeting the requirements of a rapidly evolving green logistics market.”

In addition to that sub-£500/month contract hire cost, buyers can take advantage of the UK OLEV plug-in van grant, which reduces the purchase price by 20% up to a maximum of £8,000. All models come with a five-year/150,000-mile warranty, which can be extended to 200,000 miles for an extra cost.