The range-extended van will be second electrified vehicle from Warwickshire firm; potential customers get behind the wheel next year
Rachel Burgess
11 September 2018

The London Electric Vehicle Company (LEVC), previously known as LTC, has announced that trials of its upcoming range-extender van are scheduled to start next year.

Public sector fleets will first be targeted: the Geely-owned manufacturer is already in talks with the Metropolitan Police and London Fire Brigade about running the prototype vans.

Rivals will be diesel-powered vans like the Ford Transit Connect, with a near-equivalent total cost of ownership offsetting what is expected to be a higher purchase price. 

LEVC revealed the first image of its plug-in hybrid van that's a sibling to the new TX black cab earlier this year, and the two appear to share styling cues at the front, although the van's profile and rear are distinct from its passenger-carrying sibling.

LEVC said it believes the van market “is ready for a disruptive new entrant, which will offer a very different value proposition”.

First drive of the new TX black cab

The company added that the vehicle will not focus on “last-mile delivery” but, instead, will provide the link between out-of-town distribution centres and city destinations. “Our segment is vans that undertake 100 miles a day — a role currently filled by one-tonne, medium-sized diesel vans,” LEVC said.

The light commercial vehicle will be built at LEVC’s £325 million factory in Warwickshire, alongside the range-extended EV black cab. The purpose-built facility was opened last year as the UK’s first dedicated site for EV production. LEVC expects that there will be 10,000 vehicles built at the plant by 2020, split equally between the taxi and van. That is set to expand to 20,000 vehicles by 2022.

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The move to expand the line-up beyond the black cab is part of a huge investment by Chinese parent company Geely, since LEVC needs to remain profitable amid increasing competition and stringent regulations on air quality and emissions in major cities.

The van will use the same powertrain as the TX: an advanced battery electric set-up with a 1.5-litre petrol generator. This range-extender technology gives the TX a range of more than 400 miles and the car can run for more than 70 miles on electric power alone. It can charge its depleted battery to almost full in 20 minutes via a rapid charger, in two hours with a fast charger and in eight to 10 hours on a trickle charger.

Similar figures are expected for the van, although they are likely to be slightly lower given the vehicle's extra weight. 

LEVC hasn't disclosed more details but said the range-extender not only means cleaner vehicles but also lower running costs. The van could also avoid extra charges for diesel commercial vehicles, such as the London Low Emission Zone, that are in place or planned in several major cities. “We are aiming to deliver a vehicle that, for its size, will deliver a competitive total cost of ownership," LEVC said.

The company has also paid attention to “class-leading safety as standard”, with driver assistance systems fitted on all models, as well as driver comfort and ergonomics. “The cabin has been designed around the needs of the van driver and passenger,” it said.

The TX went on sale last year, ahead of new Transport for London legislation, which came into effect on 1 January 2018, that requires all new cabs to have a “zero-emissions capable” range of at least 30 miles. 

The van will be officially revealed later this year, before going on sale by the end of 2019. 

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Comments
22

30 May 2018

This could be one area where "Badge-snobbery" isn't the deciding factor in vehice choice.  As a vanilla delivery vehicle the badge is irrevelant, apart from MB there are no premium makers in this market, Ford/Iveco/PSA/Fiat/Renault/GM might as well be one brand (and sometimes are) for all the difference it makes in this sector. On the basis of one image it looks suitably anonymous and familiar simultaneously. Good luck to it, forget consumer EVs for now, build a customer base on "workhorses" thereby establishing a brand to build on in the future

31 May 2018
kboothby wrote:

This could be one area where "Badge-snobbery" isn't the deciding factor in vehice choice.  As a vanilla delivery vehicle the badge is irrevelant, apart from MB there are no premium makers in this market, Ford/Iveco/PSA/Fiat/Renault/GM might as well be one brand (and sometimes are) for all the difference it makes in this sector. On the basis of one image it looks suitably anonymous and familiar simultaneously. Good luck to it, forget consumer EVs for now, build a customer base on "workhorses" thereby establishing a brand to build on in the future

 

Agree with this, there is no brand loyalty in the van market, so this could (and I hope will) be a massive hit. Imagine the rural postie or delivery man cruising the 500yards between each property under (local) emission free, and silent, electric propulsion instead of the endless cycle of starting a diesel every 2mins, each time with a cloud of smoke and noisy clatter...

12 September 2018

Perfectly suited to the Post Office and other "short hop" users. If they can extend the useful range to at least 200 miles I can see a lot more adopters.

31 May 2018

But it'll depend on the initial price v savings of course, but, within the congestion charge zone, no brainer

typos1 - Just can’t respect opinion

31 May 2018

You can certainly see the resemblance to the taxi!

The new TX is starting to appear on the roads now, London cabbies will certainly give it a thorough working over before the van goes into production!

31 May 2018
Mikey C wrote:

You can certainly see the resemblance to the taxi!

The new TX is starting to appear on the roads now, London cabbies will certainly give it a thorough working over before the van goes into production!

There is even one guy with the new Taxi, that lives in Lowestoft, that travels to London Everyday, and apparently he loves it, better than any other taxi he has had before, and it is saving him a fortune.

 

31 May 2018
jonboy4969 wrote:

Mikey C wrote:

You can certainly see the resemblance to the taxi!

The new TX is starting to appear on the roads now, London cabbies will certainly give it a thorough working over before the van goes into production!

There is even one guy with the new Taxi, that lives in Lowestoft, that travels to London Everyday, and apparently he loves it, better than any other taxi he has had before, and it is saving him a fortune.

 

What the heck has a Range rover got to do with it??

12 September 2018

It's his "signature"

31 May 2018

Pushing at an open door, as far as I can see. Ford and others, who decided to offshore their vehicle manufacturing, will be regretting that now. Not to mention their complete dereliction of alternative fuel vehicles, in favour of giant F series trucks. We may not know the real reason dinosaurs died out, but it’s clear dinosaur car companies are heading for extinction .

Robbo

Aussie Rob - a view from down under

31 May 2018

Pushing at an open door, as far as I can see. Ford and others, who decided to offshore their vehicle manufacturing, will be regretting that now. Not to mention their complete dereliction of alternative fuel vehicles, in favour of giant F series trucks. We may not know the real reason dinosaurs died out, but it’s clear dinosaur car companies are heading for extinction .

Robbo

Aussie Rob - a view from down under

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