The company behind the TX electric taxi is to try out hybrid-electric vans in London next year.
The market expansion by the London Electric Vehicle Company (LEVC) follows discussions with the Metropolitan Police and London Fire Brigade, which are looking to reduce their fleets’ emissions. Both emergency services want all their new vans to be zero-emission-capable by 2025.
LEVC, which manufactures the TX electric taxi, announced its move into the van market earlier this year, and the hybrids will be tested in the capital in the second half of 2019.
The vehicle, which is as yet unnamed, will combine a fully electric powertrain with an economical petrol range-extender unit to offer a clean, practical vehicle with low running costs.
The firm says the van isn’t intended for “last-mile delivery”, instead focusing on fleets where vehicles undertake demanding duty cycles that involve travelling more than 100 miles per day. This is an area of the market currently dominated by medium-sized diesel-powered commercial vehicles.
Although it’s likely to be a while before any pricing details or the release date are revealed, LEVC says the vehicle will have a number of semi-autonomous safety systems and will be built to the highest standards of crash safety.
The model will also have to meet LEVC’s million-mile TaxiDur durability test, to ensure it’s as reliable as possible.
Chief executive Chris Gubbey said: “We are developing an electrically driven van that works for drivers who can’t stop to charge whilst working but are looking for an economic alternative to diesel vehicles.
“We believe that range-extended vehicles combined with geo-fencing could play an important role in helping emergency services reduce their city-centre emissions.
“As such, we are delighted to be in discussions with critical public services for whom avoiding downtime is essential.”