The London Electric Vehicle Company (LEVC) has launched the new VN5, an electric light commercial van that joins TX taxi (previously known as the TX5) and shuttle in the company’s line-up of vehicle offerings. The company, which was previously referred to as The London Taxi Corporation, is a wholly owned subsidiary of Zhejiang Geely Holding that also manages Proton, Volvo, Lotus and others.
The VN5 is based on the TX, but rebodied to perform blue-collar work. Changes include replacing the rear suicide doors with large sliding doors to allow for easy side-loading of pallets, while the rear doors open in a 60:40 split for quick loading and unloading of cargo.
According to LEVC, the VN5 has a cargo capacity of 5.5 cubic metres (5,500 litres), which is enough to swallow two Euro-sized pallets or a gross payload of 830 kg. The van also has a class-leading turning circle of just 10.1 metres, making it ideal for navigating within tight urban spaces, which is where most delivery runs take place. Depending on the needs of the business, the spacious cargo area can be configured to fit a variety of roles, from a delivery van to a service vehicle.
Styling-wise, the VN5 looks pretty much identical to the TX, with the same roundish front-end, dashboard layout and placement of the charging ports on either side of the grille. The VN5 also uses the same powertrain as the taxi, which consists of a rear electric motor (150 PS), a 31-kWh lithium-ion battery and a 1.5 litre turbocharged three-cylinder engine.
The front-mounted engine is not linked to the wheels in any way, and only serves as a range extender when the battery is depleted. According to the company, the VN5 offers an electric range of up to 93 km, or 484 km with the eCity range extender and 36-litre fuel tank in play.
To recharge the battery, the vehicle supports AC charging of up to 11 kW via a Type 2/CCS charging port as well as DC charging of up to 50 kW using a CHAdeMO connection. Both come standard on Business and City variants of the VN5, but the Ultima version is enhanced by support for AC fast charging of up to 22 kW.
Detailed charging times weren’t provided, but the company says with a 50-kW charging station, a zero to 100% state of charge can be achieved in just 30 minutes to minimise downtime. It adds that based on a real-world delivery scenario from a warehouse near Heathrow Airport to four central London destinations, a fully charged and fuelled VN5 can complete a full day’s work and make the 76-km return trip six times, before requiring a recharge or refuel.
There’s also cost benefits too, as a full charge is said to cost two British pounds (RM10.79) on a low-cost electric vehicle tariff, plus the VN5 is exempt from the ULEZ charge in London that costs 12.50 British pounds (RM67.45) daily. With national incentive schemes, the VN5 also qualifies for the United Kingdom OLEV plug-in grant, so operators will enjoy a 20% discount off the purchase price, up to a maximum of 8,000 British pounds (RM43,169).
The company is also confident of the VN5’s durability, as it comes with SMC panel that are resistant to dents and minor impacts. The vehicle also comes with a five-year/241,402-km factory warranty, while the battery is covered for up to eight years/241,402 km. Customers can also choose to extend both warranties to six years/321,869 km for the vehicle and eight years/321,869 km for the battery.
Pricing for the VN5 starts from 46,500 British pounds (RM250,686) for the Business variant, 48,000 British pounds (RM258,773) for the City and 52,000 British pounds (RM280,232) for the Ultima. Standard equipment on the Business includes dual-zone climate control, a nine-inch touchscreen head unit, keyless entry, DAB digital radio, automatic LED headlamps, three drive modes (Pure EV, Smart and Save) as well as an electronic parking brake.
The safety equipment for the base variant is also rather impressive for a commercial van, as it includes front airbags, a tyre pressure monitoring system, ESC, ABS, autonomous emergency braking and forward collision warning.
The City adds on a heated windscreen, front and rear parking sensors, road sign information, an intelligent speed limiter, lane departure warning and curtain airbags. The Ultima takes things a step further with powered and heated front seats, satellite navigation, a rearview camera and the aforementioned 22-kW onboard AC charger.