LEVC L380: London Taxi maker previews eight-seat electric MPV
The capital’s favourite black cab company is branching out into upmarket electric people pushers. But is there an appetite for a Chinese luxury minibus in the UK?
In the car business, and nature more generally, diversification is the key to success and longevity. Take Porsche, for example, who managed to rescue itself from the depths of financial turmoil in the early 2000s with the launch of its first-ever SUV, the Cayenne.
Therefore, it’s easy to imagine how a taxi manufacturer might find similar success in the executive MPV sector. And that’s exactly what the London Electric Vehicle Company (LEVC) is hoping to achieve with its all-new L380.
Despite occupying what would appear to be an incredibly niche slither of the market (eight-seat electric minivans), the Chinese EV already faces competition in the shape of Volvo’s EM90 and Lexus’s LM – both of which boast more visually arresting designs, be that for better or worse.
So, what’s LEVC’s calling card? Space – lots of it. Sitting atop Geely’s Space Oriented Architecture (SOA) platform, the L380 promises a capacious interior and unrivalled practicality. With the choice of either six or eight seats, buyers should benefit from plentiful head and legroom in this “luxurious, highly flexible cabin.”
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As far as internals go, it seems likely the L380 will share the Volvo’s 268bhp motor and 116kWh battery setup, given both marques sit within the Geely group. If this is the case, expect a similar circa 8 second 0-60mph sprint and over 450 miles of electric range. Helping it to achieve such distances, standard fit (as pictured) Continental tyres offer low rolling resistance and superb all-weather grip.
According to LEVC CEO, Alex Nan, this new foray into premium people carriers represents a “new direction” for the brand, and one which “will see us grow beyond manufacturing the world’s most advanced taxi, the TX, and deliver smart, green, safe, and accessible mobility solutions to all.” Further adding: “The L380 raises the bar for large luxury fully electric MPVs.”
Interested? Well you can’t have one, not just yet anyway. The L380 will be launched exclusively in its domestic Chinese market this year, although LEVC promises a global rollout is in the pipeline.
While LEVC’s latest creation might not have the dynamic appeal or brand cache of its Lexus and Volvo rivals, the marque’s storied heritage of building London’s electric hackney cabs should pay dividends in the real world. But will this sway buyers? Only time will tell.
Hero image credit: LEVC