LEVC (London Electric Vehicle Company, previously known as the London Taxi Company), which is owned by Geely, has announced the start of production for its new electric van, the VN5. The new model is designed, engineered and manufactured at LEVC’s plant in Ansty. The Coventry facility is billed as the UK’s only dedicated electric vehicle factory.

The VN5 looks like the iconic London black cab because it’s based on the LEVC TX, the latest electric version of the famous taxi. The VN name represents ‘van’ (just like TX is for taxi) and the ‘5’ represents the volume of the cargo area, 5m³.

The VN5 targets the growing one-tonne van sector and LEVC expects its new electric van to account for around 70% of production volume by 2022. First vehicles will be delivered to UK customers before the end of the year and a left-hand-drive variant will join production in March 2021.

Based on the same architecture and eCity technology as the passenger TX, the VN5 can achieve a pure electric range of over 98 km (60 miles) and a total flexible range of over 489 km (300 miles). The powertrain 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, and only serves as a range extender when the battery is depleted. To manually 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 supports AC fast charging of up to 22 kW.

LEVC says that with a 50 kW charging station, a zero to 100% state of charge can be achieved in just 30 minutes. The company shares 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.

With up to 5.5 cubic metres (5,500 litres) of cargo capacity, the VN5 easily accommodates two Euro sized pallets, and offers a gross payload of up to 830 kg. Access to goods is easy thanks to a large side-loading door (enabling a pallet to be side-loaded) and a 60:40 split rear door. Its turning circle of just 10.1m is class leading and great for tight city centre work. Another strong point for a van is the VN5’s SMC panels, which are resistant to dents and minor impacts

A work vehicle needs strong support, and LEVC is currently growing its dealer network. There will be more than 50 locations in the UK alone by the end of this year, ensuring that customers are never further than a 45 minute drive time to an authorised LEVC service point. Across continental Europe, more than 30 sales and service partners will be in place by the end of 2020.

Pricing for the VN5 starts from 46,500 pounds (RM249,776) for the Business variant, 48,000 pounds (RM257,834) for the City and 52,000 pounds (RM279,320) for the Ultima. More on the LEVC VN5 here.