Parcel delivery firm will run a series of road tests for LEVC's VN5 electric van over the coming months ahead of the vehicle hitting the market in the final months of 2020.
Parcel delivery firm DPD has revealed it is to become the first company to test the London EV Company's (LEVC's) new electric 'range-extending' taxi-van.
DPD announced the new partnership yesterday, confirming it is set to monitor how the prototype fares in different driving conditions, with different loads, and on different types of routes.
The VN5 electric taxi-van, which has a pure EV range of 63 miles and a total flexible range of more than 300 miles, is due to go on sale in the final quarter of 2020, as LEVC looks to build on the success of its plug-in hybrid taxis.
DPD said that it had been drawn to the VN5's range, noting that the limited range of many existing electric van models was preventing the firm from moving away from diesel engines for longer routes.
"We are keen to see how the technology works for us," said Dwain McDonald, DPD's chief executive. "It is a very flexible solution and it could well help solve a few challenges. It is very smart, and we like that. For example, we could use geo-fencing so that it switches automatically to electric-only on entering urban areas, including low emissions zones. We will certainly give it a good test and we'll see how it works out."
Joerg Hofmann, chief executive of LEVC, said that the firm was "delighted" that DPD would be the first to test the VN5 model.
The model's launch later this year will cement LEVC's move from taxi manufacturer to commercial electric vehicle producer. The Coventry-based brand was formally known as the London Taxi Company and is best known for producing London's iconic black taxicabs.
"VN5 is set to revolutionise green logistics and we are looking forward to working with DPD as it puts the vehicle through its paces," he said. "Feedback from major business operators will be crucial to the further development of the van as we rapidly move to its launch in Q4 this year."
DPD said that it expects to have more than 600 electric vehicles on roads by the end of the year, or roughly 10 per cent of its fleet. It added that it had rolled out EVs and charging technology at all its depots and has created a new model for sustainable parcel deliveries in urban centres that depended on all-electric micro-depots.
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