News round-up: Taxi firm’s plug-in van, Mercedes van service plan, top Amarok

London taxi firm reveals first plug-in van

The company behind a new range-extender taxi has revealed its forthcoming commercial vehicle. London Electric Vehicle Company (LEVC) plans to have the van ready for sale towards the end of 2019 and has revealed its looks in a profile image.

The new van will be powered by the same petrol engine and electric motor combination that propels the taxi and is therefore expected to offer similar performance statistics, although nothing has yet been confirmed. The taxi is capable of an official electric-only range of 80 miles, while the 1.5-litre petrol engine boosts the overall range to around 400 miles; something similar is likely for the van version, although this will be dependent on the weight of load being carried.

Precise dimensions have not been announced, but LEVC says that it intends to take on the medium-van sector and should be able to take two Euro pallets, via barn doors at the rear and a sliding door on the side. As yet, there is no word on payload.

Three years after start of production, LEVC expects that the van will account for 50% of its production, which would equate to around 5000 units a year, and the company expects around 50% of those to stay in the UK market.

Pricing will be revealed closer to the van’s launch in 2019, but the overall purchase price of the taxi is in the region of £50,000 and the van is not likely to undercut that vastly. Instead, LEVC is looking to major on total cost of ownership. It has offered beneficial finance rates on the taxi, and it says that a similar arrangement would be ‘a target’ on the LCV.

It will share tech with the van, including safety systems and Geofencing tech to ensure that it can run on EV-only in particular areas of a city when necessary in the future.

 

Milk & More goes electric

Milk & More has placed the UK’s largest EV fleet order, with the purchase of 200 electric StreetScooters. The company is the first to use the StreetScooter EV – a German van that is also used by Deutsche Post in the company’s home market. The left-hand drive electric vans have a range of up to 75 miles and a payload of 905kg from the 8m3 loading area. The 200 van deal is worth £6.5m, with each van costing £32,500.

 

New Benz van servicing plan

Mercedes-Benz customers can now buy servicing plans online on a dedicated website. The new site – buyserviceplans.MBVans.co.uk  – allows customers to pick their chosen duration of plan and the number of services included and then pay online. Those wanting to pay by direct debit will still have to go via a dealer, although the site will enable users to request a callback for this option.

 

Range-topping Amarok on sale

The most powerful Amarok is now available to order, with the VW pick-up truck now capable of producing up to 272hp. The 3.0-litre diesel engine is a 258hp unit, but an overboost function increases this by 14hp briefly. It also offers a 30Nm boost in torque over the 224hp version it replaces. The new engine is only available with the Highline trim, while all-wheel drive and the eight-speed automatic gearbox are both standard for the £34,325 starting price (ex VAT).