Market leader Ford intended to showcase the strength and diversity of its conversions at the CV Show, while also keeping a couple of surprises up its sleeve. The manufacturer was expected to highlight a new front-wheel drive Transit dedicated to heavier conversions, such as motorhomes, horseboxes and ambulances, and an extra-long low-height L5 skeletal chassis (pictured) ideal for distribution and removal work. A beefed-up Ranger conversion kit featuring an upgraded suspension to increase the truck’s gross vehicle mass (GVM) by 300kg to 3.5t and a Ranger chassis cab were also set to make appearances.


LEVC, the maker of the London taxi, was set be at the NEC in Birmingham for the first time to unveil its 1.0t plug-in hybrid-electric van, the VN5 (pictured below), which will come to market in the UK later this year.

Using the TX e-City taxi’s range-extender technology, the new van will be good for a claimed 80 miles (130km) of emissions-free driving plus an extended total range of more than 370 miles (600km). Its cab heritage has bequeathed the van a tight 10.1m turning circle, which should appeal to urban operators.

LEVC claims its van will boast best-in-class total cost of ownership (TCO), and its only direct rival on the market at the moment is arguably Ford’s Transit Custom PHEV, which has an electric-powered range of just 30 miles.

LEVC says that because the 1.5-litre petrol engine cuts in as a range-extender generator to charge the battery on the go once the electric power has depleted, the recharging downtime that is necessary for a plug-in battery is eliminated.

The company expects to start production at 10,000 units per year at its Coventry factory, but claims it has the capacity to increase this to 20,000, with 60% set for export. LEVC says its drivetrain technology has been tried and tested in more than 4,000 hybrid taxis it has produced since 2018.

The VN5 will have a payload of 800kg and a load volume of 5.0m3, according to LEVC.

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Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles

Although it’s already on sale in the UK (see First Drive in What Van? February 2020 issue), the brand’s revised Transporter, known as the T6.1 (pictured), was to be on display, to give many visitors a first opportunity to get a close-up look at the medium van.

The e-Transporter electric version, due on sale this year, was to have been shown too.
The stand was also set to demonstrate a virtual reality headset to allow visitors to experience a van conversion.

The manufacturer’s stand was once again set to follow the welcoming ‘house concept’ of recent shows, to encourage potential customers to come in and have a chat with the fleet and aftersales teams.

PSA Group

PSA Group booked one big stand with areas earmarked for its three brands in the UK: Citroen, Peugeot and Vauxhall.

Prominently displayed was to be the trio’s plug-in medium vans the e-Dispatch, e-Expert and Vivaro-e (pictured). Order books for these are expected to open in June with deliveries starting from September. The models have a claimed range of 185 miles with a 75kW battery or 125 miles with a 50kW battery.

PSA admits the homologation process for the electric Citroen Relay and Peugeot Boxer large vans has been “more complicated than hoped” but says the vans will be on sale later this year. Vauxhall’s large van, the Movano, is still built on the Renault Master platform but will come under the PSA umbrella by 2025 at the latest, according to a spokesman.

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The brand formerly known as LDV expected to let the crowds know that it has changed its name to Maxus in the UK and Ireland, to come in line with other European markets.

The Chinese-owned brand will also showcase a new product, the Deliver 9. It’s a replacement for the ageing V80 and features a new platform and a 2.0-litre engine. It will be available with a choice of three lengths, three heights and front- or rear-wheel drive.

Meanwhile, the electric EV30 (pictured), which was unveiled at last year’s CV Show, has just gone on sale and also bears a new name: E Deliver 3. It costs from £30,000, or £24,000 after the plug-in van grant.


Electrification was going to be the big theme for Renault at the CV Show as the brand seeks to drive home its position as a pioneer in the field of zero-emission, plug-in vans.

Stephen Whitcombe, Renault UK’s head of brand for Pro+ Commercial Vehicles, tells What Van?:  “The credibility is with Renault because of its product.”

The manufacturer planned to showcase a variety of electric vans dressed in the livery of the companies for whom they are already in service. These would have included a DHL Master Z.E. panel van and a Kangoo Z.E. in operation with the Felix food distribution charity in London.

Whitcombe adds: “The fact they are already out in the market with blue-chip customers is the USP.” Renault also planned to provide visitors with the chance to test drive its electric vans.

Visitors could also have checked out a new flagship version of the Trafic medium van (pictured). Available to order from April, the Black Edition is priced from £27,950, excluding VAT, and is powered by either the dCi 145 engine or the dCi 170. Both 2.0-litre diesel engines can be paired with either a six-speed manual or dual-clutch automatic gearbox.

The Trafic Black Edition features black alloy wheels, Black Edition badging and graphics, and gloss-black detailing inside and out. A parking camera and climate control are standard, and optionally buyers can add a bodykit with a lower front bumper, side skirts and roof spoiler. Intriguingly, the Renault-owned budget brand Dacia, which withdrew the Commercial variant of its Duster 4WD at the end of 2017 when the first-generation Duster finished its run, had booked space at the NEC. It will be interesting to see what it’s got in store for the future.

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Smart Witness

Video telematics firm Smart Witness planned to put the focus on security with its new CP2-LTE incident camera, which features tracking data developed to give evidence of events leading up to and during a road traffic incident. Smart Witness claims the device can provide notification and videos of incidents in under a minute. In addition it features a panic alarm that can be triggered 30m from the van. Being Bluetooth-enabled, Smart Witness says the driver can trigger the alarm by phone and connect it to tracking devices in order to alert the head office.

The company also claims the system can run when the engine is off because it is powered by the battery or an external source, so is triggered when someone attempts to break into the van.


The company formerly known as Tevo is best known for its van racking but claims this now accounts for just 20% of its business.

At the NEC the firm planned to demonstrate the latest developments to its Modul-Connect 2.0 on-board weighing system. The wiring-free system delivers a weight saving of up to 15kg compared to traditional on-board axle weighing equipment, according to Modul-Systems, and employs telematics to alert fleet managers of over-loading.

It utilises Bluetooth technology for switching controls. Ancillary equipment can be switched via remote wireless control panels, a mobile phone, or incorporated into the vehicle’s touchscreen control panel. Functions such as internal and external lighting, and hand washes, can be controlled via Modul-Connect 2.0.

And also…

Italian manufacturer Iveco was set to exhibit a couple of examples of the new Daily van that it launched last year. Visitors were to see a 3.5t panel van powered by compressed natural gas (CNG), and bridging the gap to its HGVs, a 7.0t Daily van.

Another manufacturer known for its trucks, MAN, planned to showcase its VW Crafter-based TGE large van line-up, including the electric eTGE.

Mitsubishi was to give a first UK show airing to its L200 Series 6 pick-up truck (pictured) and was also to display the Shogun Sport Commercial and Outlander PHEV Commercial.

Nissan planned to show off the latest updates to its top-of-the-range Navara N-Guard pick-up, which include new upholstery, paint options and a spray-on bed liner, and there could also have been a chance to peruse its new Navara AT32, which it builds in collaboration with Icelandic off-road specialist Arctic Trucks. Mercedes-Benz did not take a stand at the show but was to be represented by main dealer Midlands Van and Truck, which was set to exhibit the new e-Vito van.

Toyota planned to spread the word about rebranding its LCV operation to Toyota Professional, which coincides with the launch of its Proace City light van. Also to be on display was a battery-electric derivative of the Proace medium van.

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