LEVC’s electric vans cross the Channel to Belgium

London’s typical ‘black cabs’ are crossing the Channel to Belgium in white and blue livery and as a battery-electric van with a range extender. The first two LEVC VN5 vans were delivered to logistics company Hazgo, a specialist in transporting medical samples, headquartered at BruCargo in Brussels.

LEVC (London Electric Vehicle Company) has been making taxis since 1908, but under Chinese Geely’s parenthood, it’s going electric since 2014 and diversifying its fleet through Europe. The gasoline engine of the range extender pushes up the radius of action from 110 km on purely battery power to 480 km in total.

Alternative for fully BEV

Because Hazgo makes deliveries in the whole of Belgium, this extended range was vital to choosing the British-Chinese alternative to a fully battery-electric van, says Tom Heymans, Managing Partner at Hazgo.

Most of these battery-electric vans on the market today offer average pure electric ranges of 250 km with a 75 kWh battery, according to ev-database.org, with some gassers like the 90 kWh powered Mercedes eVito getting as far as 310 km. The Volkswagen ID.Buzz, expected later this year, does even better: 340 km with a 77 kWh battery.

But with the size of the battery, the price of the van goes up too, above the €55 000 threshold (VAT excl.), while the lowest e-van offerings on the market like the Opel Combo eLive and its siblings from the Stellantis group start at just under €29 000.

The LEVC VN5 with battery and combustion engine doesn’t come cheap in that light, starting at €53 750 without taxes (operational lease from €996) to have that 480 km extended range. In Belgium, the brand is represented solely, so far, by the Brussels Sterckx – De Smet group, not surprisingly a known dealer of the sister brands under the same Geely umbrella, Volvo, Polestar, and Lotus. Servicing the LEVC vans is done by Volvo dealers.

11,9 kWh/100 km

The 3 386 mm wheelbase of this VN5 is 400 mils longer than its London taxi sibling. This VN5 has a load capacity of  5,5 m3 or 830 kg gross, enough for two euro-3 pallets loaded from the rear or the side.

The electric motor delivers 110 kW/150 hp and 250 Nm. The 1,5-liter gasoline three-cylinder combustion engine doesn’t drive the wheels but acts as a generator for electricity when the battery runs out.

Then you have to count with a 9,2 liter/100 km consumption of the ICE. But combined with the electromotor that only consumes 11,9 kWh/100 km (on paper), these fossil fuel consumption figures are as low as 0,9 l/100 km (WLTP), with CO2 emissions as low as 19 g/km. Moreover, the 31 kWh battery pack can be charged up to 22 kW AC and 50 kW DC. With the latter, it should take only 30 minutes from 0 to 100%.




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