WHEN you are known for producing the iconic London black cab, branching out into making vans – and electric ones at that – is a brave move.
However, the recent UK Government announcement to end the sales of petrol and diesel engine vehicles in less than 10 years, the move by the London Electric Vehicle Company could turn out to be a stroke of genius.
LEVC, based in Coventry, UK has been manufacturing the official London black cab for more than 100 years and reinvented the iconic taxi as an electric zero emissions capable TX in 2018.
Since launch, more than 4,500 units have sold worldwide and its green credentials have prevented more than 36,000 tonnes of CO2 from entering the atmosphere and saved 21 million litres of fuel from use.
It has just launched the new electric van, VN5, meaning businesses and fleets can move to a low-cost, fully future-proofed operating model while maximising productivity, vehicle lifespan, and freedom to deliver to any destination.
The LEVC van has a total flexible range of over 300 miles (482 km) with ultra-low emissions of just 21 g/km CO2 on the combined WLTP cycle.
This cycle delivers a pure electric zero emissions range of 61 miles (98 km) and the more frugal driver could achieve a 76 mile (122 km) range in pure EV mode, according to WLTP city methodology.
The electric van has undergone extensive trialling with the likes of construction company Kier Group, Royal Mail, DPD and Octopus Energy and BT.
BT sees the vehicles in as many roles and locations around the UK as possible. Its Technology division has been using the VN5 for field engineers, while its supply chain team has been using a vehicle for logistics support in Northallerton, Yorkshire.
VN5 cargo capacity accommodates two Euro sized pallets with a gross payload of over 800kg. 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.
LEVC has also significantly grown its authorised service and maintenance network by signing a partnership with one of the UK’s largest end-to-end fleet management companies, Rivus Fleet Solutions.
Its 20 authorised service centres join LEVC’s existing 17 sites, increasing the British brand’s existing UK network to 37 locations by the end of October. Each authorised site can carry out servicing, maintenance, general repairs and MoTs for LEVC TX taxi as well as its new electric van, VN5.
Joerg Hofmann, LEVC Chief Executive, said: “As a key part of our business growth strategy, our global service network is also expanding rapidly.
“The partnership with Rivus Fleet Solutions was a significant step forward, doubling LEVC’s service footprint in the UK. We are delivering on our commitment to ensure that our customers are never further than a 45-minute drive from an authorised site.”
VN5 can also be modified to suit customer requirements through LEVC’s various converter partners. From vehicle racking solutions to temperature control, VN5 can be customised to suit the needs of a range of businesses across the UK and Europe.
Since 2014, Chinese owner Geely has invested more than £500m into LEVC, allowing it to build an entirely new manufacturing facility at Ansty.
Having already established a new central European sales office in Frankfurt to increase its presence across Europe, new markets in 2020 such as Middle East, New Zealand and Australia have continued to increase the company’s export footprint.
This strategy will see LEVC move from 90% domestic sales and 10% export to 60% export by 2022.
The first electric vans rolled off LEVC’s production line at Ansty in November 2020.
Global expansion continues at a pace with plans to cover 21 markets by the end of 2021.
It has recently appointed three new dealer sites in the Netherlands. This follows the appointment last month of Stern Lijnden dealer in Amsterdam.
Mobility Centre, which has three locations around Rotterdam, joins the dealer network to further LEVC’s reach in the region. Each Centre will provide customers in the Rotterdam area full sales and after sales support for LEVC’s TX taxi and TX Shuttle and, from Spring 2021, the brand’s new electric van, VN5.
CEO, Joerg Hofmann said: “Expanding our operations in the Netherlands is part of our European growth plan and Mobility Centre will play a key role in sharing our vision to grow our e-mobility footprint in the region.
“The Netherlands is progressive and highly advanced in its EV infrastructure development and LEVC’s products, both in the taxi and the commercial vehicle markets, will cater for the growing demands for greener transport solutions.”
The VN5 will be launched in Europe from Spring and as well as the Netherlands, LEVC has appointed dealers in both Berlin and Hamburg – Germany’s two largest cities.
Koch Gruppe Automobile AG in Berlin and AMC Kruell GmbH in Hamburg will provide full sales and after sales support for LEVC’s TX Shuttle, which is based on the iconic London black taxi, and from Spring 2021, the company’s new VN5 one-tonne light van.
Their appointment brings the number of full LEVC dealers in Germany to three following the announcement of in July of Autohaus Markötter Bielefeld, operated by the Markötter Group, which is located in north-western Germany and supports customers in the Ostwestfalen-Lippe region.
LEVC already has an additional six aftersales sites located in: Berlin, Karlsruhe, Hamburg, Hanau, Krefeld, and Munich.
To find out more visit LEVC now