LEVC’s VN5 plug-in hybrid van claims 58 miles of electric-only range

LEVC VN5 plug-in van

The London Electric Vehicle Company (LEVC) is promising electric-only range of 58 miles from its new VN5 plug-in hybrid van, which goes on sale in November.

Using the same eCity range-extender technology as the company's TX taxi, it is capable of travelling up to 301 miles when the 60kW 1.5-litre petrol generator kicks in, according to head of product management James Drake-Lee. All figures are subject to WLTP certification.

Maximum gross payload is 830kg with a gross weight of 2.9 tonnes, and the newcomer comes with a 5.5cu m load area.

Using the range-extender approach rather than going the pure battery-electric route makes sense for many fleets, argues Drake-Lee, because it matches their duty cycles more closely.

"Battery-electric vans are fine for last-mile deliveries, but VN5 can be more versatile," he said.

When VN5 enters a city centre, it can switch to battery power only in line with any low or zero-emission requirements.

Even when the generator kicks in, the rear-wheel drive VN5 is always driven by its rear-mounted 110kW electric motor. Like the centre-mounted onboard chargers, it sits under the floor.

"All the vans have a 50kW DC charger and a 11kW AC charger fitted," said Drake-Lee. "A 22kW AC charger is optionally available."

Charging the 400v/31kWh lithium-ion battery can take as little as 30 minutes.

Volvo Cars and LEVC are both owned by Chinese automotive giant Geely and many of the components used in VN5 are also found in Volvo's XC60 and XC90 cars.

Ahead of the official launch, LEVC is supplying prototypes to 25 fleets for testing over the next few months, including Royal Mail.

Access to the purpose-built load area is via twin asymmetric rear doors split 60/40. "Customers can specify a sliding nearside door, a sliding door on the offside too, or no side doors at all," Drake-Lee said.

VN5 is covered by a five-year/150,000-mile warranty increasing to eight years/150,000 miles for the battery, and the service interval is set at 12 months/25,000 miles.

For the full story of LEVC’s new VN5, look out for the August edition of Digital Fleet News, in your in-boxes on August 27.

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