LEVC starts delivery van trials with DPD
LEVC, the company behind the TX electric taxi, has officially started real-world testing of its upcoming VN5 van alongside delivery firm DPD.
LEVC (London Electric Vehicle Company) is well-known for its plug-in hybrid TX taxi, which has an all-electric range of about 80 miles and uses a small petrol generator to increase its range if needed.
Now it is moving ahead with the next phase of trials for its VN5 van which is based on the same platform as the TX.
Because the two vehicles are so similar, LEVC has converted a fleet of TX-based prototypes with a full interior van conversion. DPD is the first company to take delivery of the converted TX vans kickstarting trials ahead of the planned VN5 launch later in 2020.
The VN5 has enough space to accommodate two Euro-sized pallets with a gross payload of more than 800kg. The large side-loading door should make loading easier, but there is also a 60/40 split door at the rear as an alternative.
The VN5 will have a pure electric range of about 63 miles, but this can be extended to 301 miles when combined with the petrol generator which will recharge the battery and power the electric motors.
As is famous with London black cabs, the TX and VN5 also have an impressive turning circle of just 10.1m which is crucial for use in urban areas.
The trial will continue over the next few months and a further 25 partners will take delivery of the converted TX test vehicles.
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 said the flexibility of the TX and VN5 was key: “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.”