Taxi manufacturer LEVC is aiming to expand the range and type of vehicles it offers dramatically in the coming years, using a new pure electric platform.
The Coventry-based firm, which is owned by Chinese car giant Geely (which also owns Volvo, Polestar and Lotus), currently builds the TX black cab that is licensed for use as a London ‘hackney carriage’ and features an electric powertrain with a range extender petrol engine.
The firm is now to expand its reach beyond black cabs with a new pure electric Space Orientated Architecture (SOA). Developed in conjunction with Geely, it is a flexible, modular platform designed to be suitable for a range of machines, and with a focus on offering maximum interior space.
LEVC is planning a line-up of electric vehicles using the platform – although apparently a new pure electric hackney carriage won’t be among them. The company says SOA is suitable for a range of vehicles, including passenger carrying models and commercial vehicles. It can be uses for vehicles from 4860 to 5995mm in length, with wheelbases from 3000mm to 3800mm.
The firm previewed the platform by showing an ‘Xspace’ family of vehicles that included a taxi, two MPVs and a commercial van.
The SOA platform features a flat floor with the powertrain located at the front. At the rear, the firm has developed what it calls an “innovative” rear suspension design intended to allow for extra carrying capacity under the main boot.
LEVC says that the interior space enabled by the platform allows for an extra row of seats compared to other vehicles in the same class, which multiple configurations enabled by a sliding track.
Setting new standards for access, with low step-in heights, SOA also raises the bar for interior flexibility, with multiple seating configurations and almost endless possibilites. Through innovative design, the platform maximises interior space to such an extent that an extra row of seats can fit into the vehicle, compared to other vehicles in the same class. Multiple configurations are then enabled by a fully flexible seat arrangement, with a sliding track that runs from the front to the rear of the architecture.
Supporting vehicle sizes from 4,860mm-5995mm in length and 1945mm-1998mm in width, with wheelbases from 3000mm-3800mm, SOA is configurable for a wide range of EVs, from spacious passenger-carrying models to cargo-optimised commercial applications. SOA can also offer
front-wheel-drive, rear-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive layouts too.
While LEVC hasn’t outlined full power outputs, it is expected to offer a system with 400kW. Battery sizes will range from 73kWh to 120kWh – giving a maximum range of 432 miles, and will allow for ultra-fast charging. It also features digital platform technology, and is claimed to be capable of autonomous driving up to Level 4 (when the car can drive itself largely unsupervised on certain roads equipped with sensors).
LEVC added that the SOA platform is ‘open-source’, and available for partners outside of LEVC and the Geely Group to use.