Ad closing in a few seconds...

LEVC abandons plans to build part-electric van based on London Taxi

  • Taxi-based electric van plans cancelled
  • LEVC will instead work with parent company Geely
  • Promises new range of electric vans on sale in 2020s

LEVC (the London Electric Vehicle Company), which builds the TX eCity electric London Taxi, has changed its mind about building a van based on the high-tech black cab.

The decision comes despite a statement in late 2018 claiming the new LEVC van was set to start public trials in the second half of 2019 – not to mention spyshots of prototype vehicles in testing.

Does this mean LEVC won’t be building a van at all?

Not quite. Instead the firm has announced that it will be working more closely with its parent company Geely New Energy Commercial Vehicles (GCV) on a range of electric commercial vehicles that will be sold in markets across the world.

Geely is one of the largest automotive groups in China, so isn’t short of resources. For context, Geely also owns Volvo.

The first results of this new ‘seamless portfolio of electric commercial vehicles’ is planned to go on sale in the ‘early 2020s’.

So the change of approach will result in a delay, but we suspect it will also deliver a better product.

Will the new LEVC-Geely electric vans be better than the cancelled taxi-based design?

From what we’ve seen of the taxi-based design in spy photos and official pictures, we were already a little dubious about the practicality of the vehicle.

It would have been entering the van market positioned somewhere between some well-established small electric vans – the Nissan e-NV200 and Renault Kangoo ZE – and forthcoming medium electric vans from Mercedes and Ford.

Like the planned Ford Transit Custom PHEV, the LEVC van would also have used a petrol-electric range-extender drivetrain (from the taxi), rather than a pure electric system, reducing its eco credentials. Especially given the way legislation and incentives are currently moving away from hybrid vehicles in favour of full-electric models.

While it’s unclear what kind of electric vehicle platform Geely will provide for the replacement model – or models – the official statement suggests it will be one specifically developed for use in commercial vehicles.

Why has the LEVC taxi-based van been cancelled?

It’s not so much about the cancelling as the taxi-based van as bringing the LEVC and GCV product plans together.

LEVC CEO Chriss Gubbey said: ‘With an urgent need for clean air in cities across the world, global demand for electric commercial vehicles is set to grow significantly, and this move represents a huge vote of confidence in LEVC by Geely.

‘The creation of a new global strategy focused entirely on electric commercial vehicles makes strategic sense and will allow us the opportunity to create a wider range of new products. This move will help to increase choice, lower development and production costs.’

Also read:

>> The Parkers Vans guide to electric vans

>> Ford Transit Custom Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle – everything you need to know

>> New LEVC electric range-extender van set to start public trial in 2019