IT was dark as pitch as it was unloaded from its transporter. “Is it a Bentley?” said the dairyman from the local farm as he peered through gloom at the badge and front grille.
Praise indeed, but in daylight he would probably gone for “is it a London cab?” on which the VN5 Electric van is based, but with a new top hat.
The London Electric Vehicle Company is looking to revolutionise the commercial vehicle segment with the launch of the VN5 which has started right hand drive production with LHD models available from spring this year.
It uses with the same reliable, hard-working construction as LEVC’s highly successful TX taxi with flexible zero emissions and a range of over 300 miles via LEVC’s innovative eCity electric technology. Impressively, VN5 can offer 60 miles pure electric range and a pure EV city range of 75 miles.
It can do the business as well with up to 5.5m3 cargo capacity, which equates to two Euro sized pallets, and a gross payload of up to 830kg.
A large side-loading door allows a pallet to be side-loaded and there is a 60/40 split door at the rear. With its front end shared with the electric TX taxi, styling-wise the result is pleasing on the eye.
Inside, the VN5 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.
A large central touchscreen dominates the instrument panel while there is plenty of stowage in the doors, glovebox, and central console.
The van is available in three levels of spec – Business, City and Ultima – with good level of standard equipment on all of them including Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB), front and side driver and passenger airbags, cruise control, nine-inch touchscreen and dual zone climate control as standard.
In terms of the electricity there is 50kW DC rapid charging and minimum 11kW AC fast charging capability. Moving up the range more equipment gets added such as a heated windscreen, front and rear parking sensors, curtain airbags and Lane Departure Warning.
Six option packs are also available to add such things as satnav, under-seat storage and a heated windscreen.
Van operators have differing requirements and to this end LEVC has worked with a number of 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.
On the road, the VN5 goes silently about its business with plenty of torque available from the 110Kw electric motor which always drives the wheels, regardless of driving mode.
It’s great to see that’s you’re achieving 100mpg plus while in EV mode and even more comforting to know that when you run out of juice the range extender kicks in to keep you mobile for a further 300-odd miles.
The tiny range extender kicks in immediately when required producing a gentle patter, this engine is not powering the van – it’s providing juice for the battery.
Thanks to its 50kW DC charging capability, a full charge can be completed in the time it takes to load or unload. What’s particularly impressive for the van about town is its turning circle, benefitting once again from the London cab.
VN5 can regenerate power while braking by capturing kinetic energy and the van comes ready to accept geofencing technology, which will enable the vehicle to automatically modify its operating settings, for example switching to pure EV mode when entering a low-emission zone.
How about running costs? A 25,000-mile service intervals mean time spent off the road is minimised while LEVC provides a five year/150,000 miles 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.
LEVC said a full charge costs 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.
With zero emissions in the City, operators 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.
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 a year.
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 £8,000.
To find out more visit LEVC now