the card of originality, on the model of the London “cab”
The LEVC company (like London electric vehicle company) builds the famous London taxis (the “Cabs”) today. This subsidiary of the Chinese manufacturer Geely had the idea of deriving a utility from the taxi: the VN5. “The VN5 is closely derived from the London taxi and receives a polyester bodywork for its rear part”, explains Christophe Brion, commercial adviser of the ABVV group which markets this model for France. Indeed, if the front face is identical to that of the “Cab”, the whole rear part is specific. The whole thing does not lack style and the unusual look of the VN5 allows this original van to stand out in traffic. The perfect opportunity for some companies to transform their van into a real vector of communication as this van does not go unnoticed and generates a lot of thoughts and questions from passers-by. The rear part made of polyester provides a sliding side door on the right side as well as hinged rear doors for access to the loading space. Of imposing dimensions (5,223 mm long, 1,945 mm wide and 1,990 mm high), the VN5 logically displays large usable dimensions: “The useful volume is 5 m3 which places this model at the top of the category”, explains Christophe Brion. As for the payload, with 780 kilos, it is in the average of what the vans offer.
A petrol/electric hybrid engine
It is not only from the point of view of style that the VN5 knows how to show originality: “Its hybrid engine combining a gasoline engine and an electric motor is unique in the van segment”, explains Christophe Brion. The VN5 is a series hybrid, that is to say that the propulsion is permanently ensured by the electric motor of 150 hp and 250 Nm of torque. This engine is either powered directly by the 31 kWh battery (of Volvo origin and which is also used in the XC90) or by the three-cylinder petrol engine (also used in the XC40) developing 91 hp. These “loans” to the Swedish manufacturer can be explained by the fact that Geely also owns Volvo. The coupling provides satisfactory performance.
Accelerations and restarts are pleasant, all in a high operating silence as long as the thermal engine does not come into action. The 100% electric range is around 100 kilometres. With a full battery and choosing the mode “range extender”, it is possible to travel about 500 kilometers on a full tank of fuel. It is therefore better to recharge the battery as often as possible to drive as much as possible in electric mode. The charging times announced by LEVC are between 8 hours on a mains socket and 30 minutes on a fast charging station (22 kw/ 50 kW on-board charger in AC/DC).
A flattering interior
The cabin is spacious and the environment once again incorporates many elements from Volvo, starting with the steering wheel, the gear selector, the Stop&Start button and even the hands-free key, not forgetting the interface of the central touch screen. The set is pleasant to use and the quality of assembly in the good average. It is worth highlighting the efforts made by LEVC to equip its van with the same comfort and safety equipment as the “Cab” version: Driver and passenger airbags, hill start assistance, cruise control-speed limiter, multimedia system, air conditioner, electric mirrors, electric seats and windows… The top speed is limited to 130km/h. It can easily be reached and maintained, even if the power reserve of the battery then tends to drop rapidly; in this case, the range extender takes on its full meaning. The body roll remains limited and the road behavior of a good level. As for the turning radius (a constraint imposed in London to market the “Cab”), it is extremely short. Surprising at first, it allows you to sneak around and make U-turns very easily. Ideal in town! The LEVC VN5 is currently only available in two dealerships in France: one in Val-d’Oise and the other in Lyons. The LEVC VN5 is offered from €45,000 excluding VAT, a high price but which is explained by the originality of the lines and its unique engine in the van segment.