LEVC/Geely has revealed its latest light van for urban environments

Ever since LEVC (the former London Black Cab manufacturer) commenced sales of its outstanding hybrid taxi, reports Iain Robertson, there was always a promise of other new vehicles joining its range and the latest light van is a great start.

LEVC’s new commercial vehicle, a zero-emission capable light van, draws on more than 70 years of knowledge from the same company that manufactures the world’s only purpose-built range-extended electric taxi. Powered by an 80-miles range, prioritised electric motor, with a 1.5-litre, three-cylinder turbo-petrol support engine (a Volvo cars unit), it provides a logical and sensible solution to removing diesel fumes from city centres.

LEVC’s boss, Joerg Hofmann, unveiled the van at the Institution of Engineering and Technology, in London. It has been designed to meet rapidly increasing global demands for green, electrified commercial transport. Based on the same architecture as LEVC’s TX taxi, of which there are around 2,000 examples on our roads, its combined range is around 377 miles. Targeting firms travelling around 100 miles a day, the new hybrid van offers ‘distribution to door’, not just ‘last mile’ requirements.  

Mr Hofmann stated: “Future urban transport is already changing rapidly and we have a golden opportunity to bring something new and disruptive to this market. The light commercial vehicle sector is the only growing vehicle traffic segment in London. This is due to the rapid rise in internet shopping; the Amazonisation of retail. Every day there are 65,000 unique LCV journeys into London but mobility must not come at the expense of air quality. London’s ULEZ is a blueprint and all major UK cities will introduce a Clean Air Zone by 2020. There is huge demand for a medium-sized zero emissions capable light van and the solution we offer will be more than capable of meeting the requirements of a rapidly evolving green logistics market.”

With cities bringing increasing pressure on manufacturers to offer clean vehicles, there is a huge opportunity for LEVC. The London Metropolitan Police & Fire Service has already committed to a ‘green’ future by 2025, while it is expected that by 2030, 40% of all vans will be ‘new energy’ (i.e. electrified) and, by 2040, all of them. The annual market for medium-sized ‘distribution to door’ vans is around 50,000 vehicles, with a £3,500 scrappage incentive for pre-euro 6 vans in London, bolstered by up to an £8,000 grant for New Energy vans.

While the full details of LEVC van will be revealed closer to its official launch, it will target best-in-class total cost of ownership, thanks to savings in fuel and servicing over conventional fossil-fuelled vans. It will have class-leading, Volvo-style safety, along with the world’s highest crash safety standards. It will also feature the iconic and class-leading turning circle synonymous with the black cab.

LEVC manufactures the world’s only purpose-built, range-extended electric taxi. Since 2014, its parent company GEELY has invested £500m in a production facility in Ansty, Coventry, where the new LCV is being made alongside the TX. In the near future, LEVC will add to its commercial vehicle range with a new line-up of models that will use shared technology with other GEELY Commercial Vehicles.

FCD Summary

We showed you the LEVC Taxi last year in these pages. If anything, the van alternative is by far the more important vehicle.

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