LEVC VN5 is a 1-ton electric van that’s built like a Lotus and turns like a London taxi


Sure it looks a little funny, but it’s built like a sports car and can run on battery power alone.


Who doesn’t love an English black cab? They’re ever so charming, and the legends about their drivers’ prowess are plentiful, but did you know that in order to get a cab license in London these days, your cab has to be either electric or a plug-in hybrid?

One of the two models being sold is the TX electric cab, which is made by the London Electric Vehicle Company (LEVC) in Coventry (where Jaguar is from). Only now, according to an announcement from LEVC on Monday, the TX is getting some companionship in the LEVC lineup in the form of the VN5 electric van.

So, what — aside from its London cablike nose — makes this electric van unique? Well, to start, it’s got a cargo capacity of five cubic meters (aka 176 cubic feet, in old money), and it’s rated for a gross payload of 1,830 pounds, which would put many trucks to shame. Part of that capacity is likely down to the fact that the VN5 is made of bonded aluminum — like a Lotus.

The VN5 is meant for use predominantly within cities, something made evident by its 60-mile electric cruising range, but it does also have a gasoline-powered range extender (think Chevy Volt) that extends the total range to around 300 miles for extra-urban endeavors.

Both the TX and the VN5 are built in what LEVC claims is the only dedicated electric vehicle factory in the UK. LEVC says that the VN5 will be sold internationally (but probably not in the US, which sucks) through LEVC’s own dealer network. 

Pricing starts at a borderline staggering £46,500, which works out to around $60,000 US, and is a crapload of money for a work van. Still, this is a fairly specialized piece of kit from a boutique manufacturer, so it kind of makes sense.

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