LEVC VN5 van review is a first look at an all new competitor in the one tonne van sector, using a mixture of battery and Volvo’s 1.5-litre petrol engine to extend the range.
The LEVC VN5 van is from the LEVC company based in Coventry, if the shape looks vaguely familiar to you its probably because you’ve seen the taxi version running round the streets of many UK cities.
EVC (London Electric Vehicle Company) is set to revolutionise the commercial vehicle segment with the launch of VN5, its new electric light commercial van. Available to order now, first VN5 deliveries will commence in RHD form in Q4, with LHD models available from March 2021.
VN5 has a flexible zero emissions capable range of over 300 miles (484 km)1 delivered by LEVC’s innovative eCity electric technology. It also uses with the same reliable, hard-working construction as LEVC’s highly successful TX taxi. With up to 5.5m3 capacity, VN5 cargo capacity easily accommodates two Euro sized pallets with a gross payload of 830kg. It has been built with a large side-loading door (enabling a pallet to be side-loaded) and a 60/40 split door at the rear to make loading and unloading easy for the driver.
VN5 will enter the market later this year in a highly competitive position, offering generous standard equipment, low operating costs, a comprehensive warranty and strong residual values.
Designed, engineered and manufactured at LEVC’s award winning production plant in Ansty, Coventry – the UK’s only dedicated electric vehicle factory – VN5 can enhance the green footprint of any business.
LEVC CEO Joerg Hofmann said: “VN5 sets new green mobility standards in the industry and establishes a new and highly desirable electric van segment. We’ve applied our extensive knowledge from the taxi world to create a high quality, hard-working van with zero emissions and long-distance capability. As well as offering favourable operating benefits, VN5 fulfils the growing demand from both businesses and consumers for cleaner, more sustainable commercial vehicles.”
VN5 shares its distinctive styling with the iconic London taxi. Drawing upon the company’s heritage as the leader in the taxi sector for over a century, VN5 features a front end common with the electric TX taxi, a timeless purpose-built model launched in 2018. Combined with bold yet clean surfaces, VN5 is a modern van that stands out from the crowd.
LED headlamps are fitted as standard, converting 80% the power into light versus a typical 20% for a halogen lamp. These are brighter, longer lasting and are four times more efficient than conventional halogen lamps.
Inside, VN5 also benefits from a driver-oriented cabin shared with TX, featuring an ergonomic, relaxed and stress-free workspace tried and tested on the streets of London by thousands of cabbies. The driver’s seat is ergonomically designed and fully adjustable, while the steering wheel can also be adjusted for reach and rake. The cabin is optimised for professional use, with settings accessed via a large central touchscreen with intuitive interface, while bright LED lighting clearly illuminates other key controls. Ample stowage in the doors, glovebox and central console are all designed to allow convenient access when needed.
Tailored for work
Three VN5 variants are available – Business, City and Ultima – with a high level of standard equipment and always with the demands of the user in mind. All VN5 models feature Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB), front and side driver and passenger airbags, cruise control, nine-inch touchscreen and dual zone climate control as standard as well as 50kW DC rapid charging and minimum 11kW AC fast charging capability. City trim adds a heated windscreen, front and rear parking sensors, curtain airbags and Lane Departure Warning, while the flagship Ultima features a rear-view camera, luxury seats, metallic paint and 22kW AC charging capability as standard.
Six option packs are available, allowing customers to tailor to their specific preferences. The Comfort pack features luxury driver & passenger seats, Satellite Navigation, under-seat storage and a heated windscreen. The Safety pack comes with Road Sign Information system (RSI), Speed Limit Intelligent Function (SLIF), Lane Departure Warning (LDW) and curtain airbags.
In addition, LEVC has worked with a number of Europe’s leading convertors to ensure the VN5 can be equipped with racking, roof racks, light bars and other bespoke modifications required by customers in this sector. In addition, the vehicle will also be available with a range of accessories at launch including seat covers, mats and handheld device holders to enable customers to personalise and protect their vehicles.
Street wise and easy to load
VN5 features a class-leading turning circle of just 10.1m. Like TX, the VN5 has been designed for unrivalled mobility in busy city environments and can operate effortlessly in tight urban spaces.
The VN5 cargo capacity of up to 5.5m3 easily accommodates two Euro sized pallets with a gross payload up to 830kg. It has been built with a large side-loading door (enabling a pallet to be side-loaded) and a 60/40 split door at the rear to make loading and unloading easy for the driver.
Maximising use, minimising downtime
Flexible electric power at the heart of V5. Based on the same architecture and proven eCity range-extender technology as LEVC’s TX electric taxi, a pure EV range of 58 miles (93 km) and a total flexible range of over 300 miles (484 km)1 can be achieved.
By eliminating range anxiety thanks to the VN5’s intuitive eCity technology, this new electric van delivers a ‘distribution to door’ service, combines long-distance usability with zero emissions capability. VN5 excels where businesses have to drive a significant number of “stem miles” from the depot to get to the first delivery address. 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 47-mile return trip 6 times, before it needs to recharge/refuel, far exceeding the range of a pure electric van.
And, with the ability to go from zero charge to 100 percent in 30 minutes thanks to its 50kW DC charging capability, a full charge can be completed in the time taken loading/ unloading at the depot or for a short driver break and be back on the road, working hard for its owner. VN5’s long 25,000-mile service intervals mean time spent off the road is further minimised.
Built to last
VN5 has been designed to last twice as long as the competition, thanks to its first in sector strong and lightweight bonded aluminium monocoque & SMC construction. This technology is resistant to corrosion and absorbs twice the crash energy of mild steel. In addition, VN5 features SMC panels which are resistant to dents and which shrug off minor impacts and help to keep the vehicle on the road.
VN5 comes with a class leading five year/150,000 mile vehicle warranty and a battery warranty of eight years/150,000 miles. Customers can also opt for an extended warranty of six years/200,000 miles for the vehicle and eight years/200,000 miles for the battery.
With zero emissions in the City, operators of the VN5 will be exempt from the £12.50 daily ULEZ charge in London and will benefit from similar treatment in other cities with pro-electric legislation.
Reducing running costs
VN5 continues on its promise to deliver low operating costs with electricity for a full charge costing less than £2 on a low cost electric vehicle tariff, and fuelling costs that could be as low as £2 ppm versus 11 ppm for diesel equivalents.
Lex has confirmed attractive Contract Hire rates for business users starting at just £493.92 per month + VAT based on a 60 month contract covering 20,000 miles per annum. This further illustrates the VN5’s competitive and class leading total cost of ownership with tailored Contract Hire quotations available from Lex Autolease.
In addition, VN5 is expected to qualify for a number of national incentive schemes for low emissions vehicles, such as the UK OLEV plug-in grant. This means UK operators will receive a discount of 20% off the purchase price, up to a maximum of £8,0003.
Safety as Standard
VN5 was designed from the outset to the highest safety standards. Passive and Active systems work together to protect the vehicle’s occupants, improve road safety for all road users, and reduce the costs associated with high accident rates. VN5’s first in sector bonded aluminium monocoque & SMC construction is immensely strong and absorbs twice the crash energy of mild steel.
The vehicle is equipped with Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) as standard, to protect the vehicle occupants as well as pedestrians, cyclists and other vulnerable road users from accidents at lower speeds. AEB also operates at higher speeds during interurban vehicle operation. Should a collision ever occur, the post-impact braking system will intervene to stop any further collisions on rebound.
Other safety systems available include Emergency Brake Assist and ABS, Front & Side Driver & Passenger airbags and optional curtain airbags.
Comprehensive sales and service support
VN5 will be sold through LEVC’s growing international dealer network, with more than 50 locations in the UK alone by the end of this year, to ensure that customers are never further than a 45-minute drive time to an authorised LEVC service
As far as power is concerned, LEVC don’t like the term hybrid but prefer “range extender” as its a battery driven vehicle which is topped up by a petrol engine.