While there are no plans for Ireland, real-world fleet trials continue in the UK. The latest announced is of UK energy retailer Octopus, who has joined a raft of partners taking part in real-world trials of the London Electric Vehicle Company’s new VN5 petrol-electric van.
The trial will take place over the next few months, with Octopus Energy joining more than 25 partners, ranging from tool and equipment hire companies to energy suppliers and delivery services, who will take delivery of the VNS and put it to the test.
Requiring space for tools, electrical equipment and PPE, Octopus will test the prototype vans will be to ensure they can withstand the load and allow its engineers to do their work with a lower carbon impact.
The UK energy-tech company’s engineers will use the VN5 prototypes to install the same electric chargers used by the vans themselves.
The VN5 is powered by the same 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol engine, 31kWh battery pack and rear-mounted electric motor as the TX taxi. Like the cab, there’s no physical connection between the engine and the wheels, with the combustion unit only kicking in occasionally to keep the battery pack topped up.
Most of the time, the VN5 works like an electric vehicle, with LEVC claiming that its powertrain will provide more than 58 miles of pure-electric motoring. Once the battery pack has been depleted the range-extender petrol engine can boost the van’s maximum range to 300 miles.
Joerg Hofmann, LEVC CEO, said, “At LEVC we are committed to making the commercial vehicle sector a greener, cleaner business environment and it is great to have Octopus Energy on board for these trials as we have a shared interest in sustainable products and services.”