LEVC VN5 Review

Written by Dan Powell

8/10
heycar ratingClassy range extender EV van
  • 2020
  • Van
  • EV

Quick overview

Pros

  • Efficient range extender van
  • 61-mile EV range
  • Five-year 150,000 mile warranty

Cons

  • High load floor
  • Expensive to buy
  • Limited to one body style and wheelbase 

Overall verdict on the LEVC VN5

"Easy to use, practical and powered by a super-efficient petrol plug-in hybrid powertrain, the LEVC VN5 has the potential to revolutionise the UK’s small van market. If you've always liked the idea of running an electric van, and have been put off by the idea of range anxiety, this could be the perfect compromise."

LEVC VN5 driving

LEVC stands for the London Electric Vehicle Company and the UK-based company is famous for building the London electric taxi. Both the taxi and the VN5 van are built in Coventry, although the manufacturer is wholly owned by Chinese motoring giant Geely.


The LEVC VN5 borrows a lot of its tech from the iconic 21st-century black cab, which in turn had taken a lot of its technology from Volvo - the Swedish firm is also owned by Geely. In this LEVC VN5 review we'll look at whether the LECV VN5 is worth choosing if you want an electric van.


The LEVC VN5 is powered by electricity 100% of the time, but when the battery runs out of charge it utilises a turbocharged 1.5-litre petrol engine to act as a generator for the battery. With a fully charged battery and a tank of petrol, the VN5 will travel 300 miles and return up to 313mpg. 


At the business end of things, the van will carry a maximum payload of 830kg. It also has space for two Euro pallets. The side sliding door is also wide enough for a Euro pallet to be loaded at the side. 


LEVC says the VN5 has been designed to last twice as long as its rival diesel vans, which is why every model is backed by a five-year 150,000 mile warranty. The battery is also guaranteed for eight-years and 150,000 miles.

Plug-in hybrid vans are rare and the larger Ford Transit Custom Plug-in Hybrid is the only like-for-like rival to the LEVC VN5. That said, there are small electric vans that you may want to consider, like the Renault Kangoo Z.E, Nissan e-NV200 and Citroen Berlingo Electric. 

Comfort and design: LEVC VN5 interior

"The interior isn’t as spacious as some of its small van rivals, but the VN5 is comfortable and has some nice touches - which includes a large touchscreen."

LEVC VN5 interior

The interior of the VN5 has an upmarket feel, which reflects the fact that most of the trims and switches have been lifted from Volvo’s passenger car range. The van also gets a large nine-inch touchscreen at the centre of the dash, which operates the heatings, radio and driving modes. High-spec models also get navigation. 


Standard equipment is high across the range and all models get LED loadspace lighting and an electronic parking brake. Automatic LED headlights and a cargo area that’s cladded with protective materials is also included as standard. 


The maximum payload of the VN5 is 830kg and this puts it behind diesel-powered rivals like the Ford Transit Connect and Vauxhall Combo, which can carry up to 1000kg. The loadspace measures 2447mm in length and up to 1574mm wide with 1104mm between the rear wheel arches. 

Handling and ride quality: What is the LEVC VN5 like to drive?

"The VN5 shares a lot of its oily bits with Volvo, which means you get a van that’s easy to drive and wonderfully refined."

LEVC VN5 handling

Comfortable, refined and well equipped as standard, the VN5 is extremely relaxing to drive. Most of this is down to the fact that the engine, electric motor and battery are sourced from the Volvo XC40 Plug-in Hybrid. 


Geely bought Volvo in 2010 and has transformed the Swedish brand into one of the world’s most desirable luxury carmakers. The LEVC benefits from this joint ownership and it shows when you drive the VN5.


The steering is nicely weighted and both road and engine noise levels are well suppressed. The narrow front axle allows the van to perform a complete circle turn in just 10 metres. There are three driving modes - Pure EV, Smart or Save. These let you drive the van as a pure EV or save the battery for later use. Most people will keep the van in full auto mode, which automatically decides when it needs to use the battery or the 1.5 petrol engine. 


The battery pack is located under the loadspace floor and a full charge takes eight hours from a 3.5kW three-pin plug or three hours and forty-five minutes from a 7kW wallbox. Hook the van up to a 50kW fast charger and you’ll boost the battery from zero to 100% in just 30 minutes. 


Charging times and cost

"The VN5 is exempt from the ULEZ and Congestion Zone charging. What’s more, if you use your van for short drop journeys, it’ll use very little petrol due to its 61-mile EV range."

LEVC VN5 charging point

Officially, the VN5 will return over 300mpg. But this is dependent on the van having a full charge before every journey. All vans are fitted with a 50kW DC rapid charging port and a  11kW AC socket - both are found at the front of the vehicle. 


How much should you be paying for an LEVC VN5?

"The LEVC isn't cheap but being a range extender, offers something different from other EV vans."

LEVC VN5 profile side

Business buyers will be able to buy the VN5 from £38,500. This price excludes VAT and includes the Government’s £8000 plug-in vehicle grant.

Ask the heycar experts: common questions

LEVC stands for the for the London Electric Vehicle Company. The name was launched in 2017 but the company can trace its roots all the way back to 1908 when London taxicab dealers JJ Mann and Tom Overton begin importing vehicles to Britain from France and Germany, for sale into the London cab trade.
LEVC vans and taxis are built at LEVC's factory near Ansty, just outside Coventry. At full production, it will be producing 20,000 vehicles a year.
The new London Taxi, the TX, was launched in 2018 and is made by LEVC based in Coventry. It replaced the TX4. LEVC was formerly known as LTI - London Taxis International and also LTC - the London Taxi Company. LEVC is owned by Chinese firm Geely which also owns Volvo and Lotus.
Prices for the LEVC VN5 start at £38,500. This price excludes VAT and includes the Government’s £8000 plug-in vehicle grant.

Other popular reviews