The London Electric Vehicle Company (LEVC) has started real-world trials of its new plug-in hybrid van, which is based on the same platform as its London black cab.
The van’s model designation will be VN5, but these prototype test vehicles will be converted from TX cabs and will be run by parcel delivery firm DPD.
The vans have had the rear of the interior removed to make space for the load bay, which is said to be big enough to carry two Euro-size pallets with a gross payload of over 800kg. They also come with a side-loading door and a 60/40 split-opening rear door.
It has the same powertrain as the TX, which uses an electric motor and battery with a petrol engine as backup. Its pure electric range is 64 miles but can travel 301 miles with a full tank of fuel on board too.
Joerg Hofmann, LEVC CEO, said:“We are delighted that DPD is the first company to begin testing of our VN5 taxi-van prototypes. These real-world tests mark a milestone occasion in the history of LEVC, as the company continues its transformation from an iconic British taxi brand to a leading electric vehicle manufacturer.
“VN5 is set to revolutionise green logistics and we are looking forward to working with DPD as it puts the vehicle through its paces. Feedback from major business operators will be crucial to the further development of the van as we rapidly move to its launch in Q4 this year.”
Dwain McDonald, DPD’s CEO, added: “It is great to work with LEVC. It is such an iconic British brand and another great Midlands-based business. We are keen to see how the technology works for us. It is a very flexible solution and it could well help solve a few challenges. It is very smart, and we like that.
“For example, we could use geo-fencing so that it switches automatically to electric-only on entering urban areas, including low emissions zones. We will certainly give it a good test and we’ll see how it works out.”
Over the next few months, more than 25 logistics partners will test the LEVC vans, with the company saying the companies cover industries including energy suppliers and equipment hire.