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LEVC VN5 Van Review – Hybrid Specs and Technical

LEVC VN5 van review is a first look at an all new competitor in the one tonne van sector, using a mixture of battery and Volvo’s 1.5-litre petrol engine to extend the range.

Background

The LEVC VN5 van is from the LEVC company based in Coventry, if the shape looks vaguely familiar to you its probably because you’ve seen the taxi version running round the streets of many UK cities.

The company can trace its heritage back to 1908 when it made the first dedicated taxi’s and then through to the early 21st century as the London Taxi Company (LTI). In 2003 the global Chinese automotive company Geely bought the company and renamed it LEVC in 2017. Incidentally, Geely also own Volvo Cars and indeed, the petrol engine in the VN5 is actually a Volvo 1.5 litre engine.

Unlike many conventional vans, the VN5 is made of an aluminium monocoque structure which is bonded together and then sheet moulded compound (SMC) is placed over this, making for a very lightweight but strong body.

As far as power is concerned, LEVC don’t like the term hybrid but prefer “range extender” as its a battery driven vehicle which is topped up by a petrol engine.

LEVC VN5 Side Load Door
LEVC VN5 Side Load Door

LEVC VN5 van dimensions

The VN5 is a 5.5 cubic metre van pitching at the likes of the short wheelbase and low roof versions of the Mercedes-Benz Vito, Volkswagen Transporter, Ford Transit Custom and PSA Group medium vans. Importantly it has a total height of 1990mm keeping it under the important 2m height constraint imposed by many car park roofs and gates.

The load length is 2447mm meaning your typical 8×4 sheet will fit in length ways but alas with a width between the wheelarches of 1109mm you will struggle to fit it directly on the floor.

The good news is that it can take either two Euro pallets or two metric pallets and perhaps, a unique selling point (USP) for the VN5, it can also fit either a metric and euro pallet through the side load door. This is because of it’s taxi based heritage requiring a large door for disability access, consequently it has a maximum width potential of 1128mm and 1199mm height, subject to bulkhead intrusion etc.

Finally the rear doors are 1253mm wide and 1272mm high, virtually square, replicating many other players in this market.

LEVC VN5 van payload and weights

LEVC VN5 Payload
LEVC VN5 Payload

LEVC are aiming this vehicle at the one tonne payload sector, with a 2900kgs gross vehicle weight (GVW), there are three trim levels which impact on the payload potential of the vehicles.

  • Business Trim : 694-830kgs
  • City Trim : 691-791kgs
  • Ultima Trim: 680-780kgs

The front and rear axle plated weights are 1500kgs each, meaning there’s less than 100kgs load latitude ( tolerance) so ensuring you plonk that pallet in the right place will be critical!

Van performance

The LEVC VN5 van, is of the range extender variety, meaning it has a single 110kW ( 150PS) electric motor with 240Nm of torque positioned between the rear wheels. This is linked to a 31kWh Lithium-Ion with NMC chemistry battery which in turn is connected to Volvo petrol 1.5 litre three cylinder engine rated at 60kW (84hp) positioned under the bonnet. At no time does the petrol engine directly power the motor.

Charging

LEVC VN5 range and charging

The LEVC VN5 Electric hybrid has three drive modes and three braking regeneration modes, the three drive modes are :

  • SMART – For everyday use and automatically balances the battery and petrol engine
  • SAVE – Conserves the battery and charges it for later use
  • PURE EV – as it suggests battery only and zero emission.

The range has been measured to the latest WLTP Combined cycle emissions standard and is :

  • Pure EV (electric-only) range 60.9 miles / 98km
  • Range-extender range 243 miles / 391km
  • Total range 304 miles / 489.3km
  • Emissions : Co2 21 g/km

As far as charging is concerned the VN5 has the option of one or two 11kW onboard chargers ( Standard on the Ultima), with charging times as below:

On-board charging AC 11 or 22kW
On-board charging DC 50kW
Optimum charging time @ 50kW (0-100%) 30 minutes
Optimum charging time @ 50kW (0-80%) 25 minutes
Optimum charging time @ 22kW (0-100%) 75 minutes
Optimum charging time @ 11kW (0-100%) 140 minutes
Optimum charging time @ 7kW (0-100%) 225 minutes

Possibly unique in the sector the VN5 has the option of charging connections with AC charging at 11 or 22 kW (CCS) and DC charging at 50 kW via CCS or CHAdeMO.

VN5 Electric hybrid van

Trim levels

There are three trim levels for the VN5, Business is the lead in model, with City next and then the top of range Ultima. Their main features are listed below :

Business

  • Driver & passenger seats with lumbar support
  • Two zone climate control (A/C)
  • Bluetooth / Two USB ports / DAB Radio /12V power socket in the cab
  • 9-inch touch screen
  • Keyless Start
  • Automatic windscreen wipers
  • Auto LED headlights with automatic adjustment
  • LED daytime running lights / LED cab lights
  • Electrically adjusted & heated mirrors
  • Driver & passenger front & side airbags
  • Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS)
  • Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) and Electronic Stability Control (ESC)
  • Autonomous Emergency Braking / Forward Collision Warning (FCW)
  • Cruise control

City

  • Heated windscreen
  • Additional storage under driver & passenger seats
  • Front & rear parking sensors
  • Road Sign Information / Speed Limit Intelligent Function (SLIF)
  • Lane Departure Warning / Driver & passenger curtain airbags

Ultima

  • Charcoal grey metallic paint
  • Body coloured front & rear bumpers & D pillar covers
  • Silver steel wheels
  • Driver & passenger fully electrically adjusted & heated luxury seats
  • Satellite Navigation
  • 8 tie loops
  • Rear view camera
  • 22kW AC fast charging

LEVC VN5 price and availability

As mentioned previously there are three trim levels with the Business starting at £46,500, the City at £48,000 and Ultima at £52,000. All prices exc VAT and also the Plug in Grant which is £8,000 on all these vehicles currently.

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