Royal Mail is the latest household name to partner with LEVC (London Electric Vehicle Company) and take delivery of a prototype of its new electric van, the VN5, for use in real-world testing.
Thanks to the similarities between LEVC’s TX Taxi and VN5, LEVC is deploying a fleet of converted TX-based prototypes utilising a full interior van conversion, kickstarting trials ahead of official VN5 launch later this year.
The famous British postal service and courier provider is one of 25 business partners taking part in the trials, all using the converted TX-based vehicles.
Joerg Hofmann, CEO, LEVC, commented: “Royal Mail is one of the oldest postal services in the world and, like our London black cab, is part of British history and culture. It is great that these two iconic brands are joining forces for this trial. The VN5 prototypes will wear the iconic Royal Mail red livery and be used on routes that will test the vehicles ability to the full. These trials are crucial to the final development of the van, ahead of its launch later this year.”
The 2.9 tonne small van is a durable vehicle which is designed to operate at lengthy distances on a stop and start basis, comparable to a typical postal round. Fully chargeable at the local delivery office, the van is designed to help postmen and women deliver letters and parcels securely, whilst reducing associated emissions.
One van will be trialled on delivery rounds in largely urban areas over the next six months, including locations in Derby, Leeds, Edinburgh and Bristol. The trial begins this week in Hockley, near Birmingham.
The prototype van forms part of Royal Mail’s program of low or zero emission vehicle trials. They are an example of the Company’s efforts to continue to reduce emissions associated with its operations, and to test the suitability of alternative vehicles and fuels.
The VN5 cargo capacity easily accommodates two Euro sized pallets with a gross payload of over 800kg. It has been built with a large side-loading door (enabling a pallet to be side-loaded) and a 60/40 split door at the rear to make loading and unloading easy for the driver.
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.”
Image credit: LEVC