The VN5 range-extended electric van from London Electric Vehicle Company (LEVC) is a worthy winner of What Van?’s Editor’s Choice Award for 2021. The Editor’s Choice Award recognises an innovation or initiative that has made a genuine impact on the commercial vehicle market within the previous 12 months. 

Judges were impressed with the VN5’s flexible eCity powertrain technology, which allows van drivers to travel emissions-free, while still offering a long, flexible overall range, making it suitable for both inter-city and inner city assignments. By bridging the gap between conventional and electric light commercial vehicles, the VN5 is well equipped to ease customers’ concerns about range capacity and load-carrying capability.

Designed, engineered and built at LEVC’s electric vehicle factory in Ansty, Coventry, production of the new VN5 began in November 2020, with first UK deliveries taking place the following month. 

The VN5 is based on the same architecture and proven eCity range-extender technology as LEVC’s TX electric taxi. It can achieve a pure EV range of over 60 miles* and a total flexible range of 304 miles. In addition, the VN5 utilises the same strong, lightweight bonded aluminium monocoque and SMC construction – a first for the 1.0t van segment, designed to last twice as long as its competition. It is also equipped with a class-leading turning circle of just 10.1m for unrivalled mobility in busy city environments.

The VN5 is available in three trim levels: Business, City and Ultima. Excluding VAT and factoring in the government’s 20% Plug-in Van Grant, prices range from £38,500 to £44,000.

All models come with Bluetooth connectivity, DAB radio and a 9in touchscreen, plus safety features such as forward-collision warning, post-impact braking and cruise control. 

City trim adds the Safety Pack, which includes road sign information, speed limit intelligent function, lane departure warning, driver and passenger curtain airbags, and front and rear parking sensors. The pack can be added to Business trim for £600 while parking sensors are included for an additional £300 and £280, respectively.

Several other packs enable Business and City customers to select the features that take their fancy from those that are standard with Ultima, which includes electrically adjustable heated seats, a rear-view camera, satnav, body-coloured bumpers, and 22kW AC fast-charging capability.

With onboard 50kW DC charging the VN5 can be fully charged in 30 minutes, while charging with a standard 7kW socket takes 225 minutes. 

The VN5 is an accomplished load carrier with a load volume of 5.5m3 and a payload of up to 830kg.**It also has a maximum roof-load capacity of 100kg.

The driver can select from three driving modes to match the environment: Save retains the electric charge in extra-urban settings such as motorways, Smart switches between petrol and electric power for mixed roads and Pure EV is designed for urban driving. Two stages of regenerative braking are available and by selecting the stronger B mode there is rarely any need to use the footbrake, which makes driving the VN5 a relaxing experience.

Commenting on the VN5’s success at the What Van? Awards, Joerg Hofmann, CEO of LEVC, said: “I am delighted to receive our first award for our new electric van. The VN5 brings something new to a heavily diesel-dominated commercial vehicle sector – an eCity technology capable of both zero emissions and zero range anxiety. It’s great that WhatVan? has recognised the VN5’s green impact as well as its flexible loadspace, high build quality and class leading turning circle.”

*Pure EV (electric-only) range 60.9 miles in accordance with EAER Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP) figures (October 2020). These figures may not reflect real life driving results, which will depend upon a number of factors including accessories fitted (post-registration), variations in weather, driving styles and vehicle loads.
**Payload and capacity varies with trim level and options.