TAXI manufacturer LEVC – the London Electric Vehicle Company – has unveiled a new fully electric architecture that will enable the Coventry-based firm to enter a range of new markets.
SOA – Space Oriented Architecture – has been developed with LEVC’s owner, Geely and while it employs technology developed by other brands the Chinese automotive giant is involved with, such as Volvo, the company’s management insist the platform is bespoke to LEVC.
The modular, scaleable SOA will be produced in two versions, dubbed Premium and Commercial, and accommodate vehicles between 4.9 and six metres in length and wheelbases from three to 3.8 metres. The more compact battery packs are placed under the floor with capacities from 73kWh to 120kWh, taking range between charges up to 500km.
The onboard chargers are placed on top of the battery pack rather than in a traditional engine bay location, reducing vehicle overhangs and improving the vehicle’s safety performance.
Maximising space in vehicles using the platform has created a completely flat floor for up to four rows of seats plus a fifth row that folds completely into the rear. Redesigned suspension, including placing springs 70% closer to their wheels, improves load capacity by 25%.
Launching with the SOA platform is a new digital electronics package dubbed L-OS. Said to boast ‘huge computing power’, the technology has been developed to meet future electric mobility demands, from intelligent cockpits with connectivity for occupants to fully autonomous driving.
LEVC says that its first new model on the SOA platform will launch the company into a new sector – currently it manufactures the TX taxi and VN5 van at Coventry, both with range-extender drivetrains.
However while sources suggest LEVC is planning an entry into the passenger car market, the company has been careful not to give any more details of future new models, beyond silhouettes shown on screen during the launch technical presentation suggesting that SOA could accommodate vehicles from cars through SUVs to mid-sized commercial vehicles.
“Today is about demonstrating a new foundation that is layering on top of our existing products to enable us to start moving into those sectors,” LEVC managing director Chris Allen said at the launch of the SOA platform. “It’s about the platform giving us the freedom to start thinking towards rather than specifics over what we are going to do – that’s the next exciting phase for us.”
The Coventry factory, opened in 2018, has an annual capacity of 20,000 vehicles, well above its current output, and LEVC also has reserved slots on adjacent land for potential future expansion.
LEVC CEO Alex Nan believes the platform will turn LEVC from a UK to a global brand. “SOA will transform the company from a high-end taxi manufacturer to a leading provider of pure electric global mobility solutions,” he said.