LEVC VN5 van: range-extender hybrid van nears release, based on TX Taxi

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

The London EV Company (LEVC) has confirmed that its upcoming light van – based on the LEVC TX electric London taxi – will be called the LEVC VN5. The alphanumeric name stands for the word ‘Van’ and the model's cargo space of five cubic metres.

This van is likely to arrive on the market in late 2020 and will bring a single sliding side door, 60:40 split rear doors and a floor that’s big enough for two EuroPallets. A payload of just over 800kg has been targeted, so the VN5 can battle it out with other small electrified models. Prices have yet to be confirmed, but we expect it to undercut the £55,000 asked for the TX Taxi.

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 63 miles is quoted, alongside a total range of 301 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 will take around 30 minutes from a 50kW charger. 

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.”

LEVC is promising best-in-class cost of ownership for the van, as well as the reassurance of a million-mile durability testing regime, modern active safety technology and driver comfort benchmarked against premium MPVs. The van will be produced in the same Coventry factory that builds the LEVC TX.