Royal Mail has become the latest organisation to sign up for trials of LEVC’s forthcoming range-extender van, putting its eco benefits to test in the real world.
The postal service and courier provider is one of 25 business partners signed up to carry out trials of converted TX taxi-based prototypes featuring a full van conversion.
Due for launch later this year, the VN5 2.9-tonne van will feature the same e-City range-extending technology as the TX taxi, positioning it as a cleaner alternative to diesel vans for ‘distribution-to-door’ – not just last-mile – services.
It offers a cargo capacity that can easily accommodate two Euro-sized pallets with a gross payload of over 800kg, and also comes with a large side-loading door and a 60/40 split door at the rear to enable loading and unloading.
The VN5 prototypes tested by Royal Mail will feature its usual red livery and be used on routes that will test the vehicles’ ability to the full.
Royal Mail has played a strong role in ultra-low emission vehicle trials for several years now, helping to drive mass adoption among fleets. Its work saw it deploy 100 electric vans on its delivery fleet back in 2017 alongside its work with Arrival on trialling electric trucks. Earlier this year, it deployed its latest EVs, all featuring new green branding to denote their eco status and are part of Royal Mail’s involvement in the Ofgem-funded Optimise Prime project; billed as the world’s largest commercial electric vehicle project.
Paul Gatti, fleet director at Royal Mail, said: “As a company, we are committed to making changes to our operations that reduce our environmental impact, whilst ensuring we continue to meet customer expectations. Alongside the introduction of electric vans in locations across our business, this trial is part of a programme of initiatives that allow us to experiment with ways to achieve this, whilst enabling us to continue to deliver letters and parcels safely, efficiently and responsibly.”
The tie-up with Royal Mail comes hot on the heels of a similar partnership between LEVC and national courier DPD. LEVC’s VN5 trials with its business partners will run until Q4 2020, when the vehicle is due to launch, and will see the prototypes tested with firms ranging from tool and equipment hire firms to energy suppliers, enabling a variety of different-use cases and providing crucial insights for the final development of the van.