LEVC's vehicles have always been built to stand the test of time, and VN5 is no different.
Using technology proven in the aerospace and motorsport industries, we introduced a bonded, anodised aluminium body structure – a first for the commercial vehicle sector. This design helps unlock a new level of operator benefits in terms of durability, weight, lifespan and total cost of ownership.
VN5 is built on an aluminium monocoque construction, which integrates the frame into the body structure, creating a unitised body (unlike body-on-frame construction, which entails mounting the body of the vehicle on a chassis). This cuts significant weight out of the vehicle, helping improve fuel economy.
The aluminium components are glued together using an incredibly strong hot cure adhesive. The glue remains dormant until the entire structure is baked in an oven at 180°C for 20 minutes. Once cured, the adhesive becomes rock solid, turning the frame into a single, remarkably rigid structure.
The resulting bonds are more than twice as strong as traditional welding. This was tested on a 100mm aluminium strip, with the arrow representing the direction of the force applied. The upper welded joint failed at a load of 16kN. The bonded joint remains strong until around 34kN (3.4 tons) – under this force, the aluminium surface itself gives way.
VN5’s monocoque structure also gives the van immense strength and impact resistance, as aluminium can absorb twice as much energy as mild steel, pound for pound.
Weighing just 370kg, the body structure effectively combines high torsional rigidity with lightweight construction. It is around 30% lighter than the equivalent steel structure – a crucial saving, especially in an electric vehicle, where most of the weight comes from the batteries. A conventional steel body and frame would add significantly more weight, decreasing performance and range.
Unlike steel, aluminium does not rust, and all 400+ aluminium components are anodised to further increase corrosion resistance.
The result is a van that stays productive for longer. In fact, VN5 can last twice as long as a conventional van – and its long life expectation will lead to excellent residual values.
The aluminium used in the body structure is made from recycled material, and is 100% recyclable so the end of the vehicle’s life is greener too. The Department of Energy found that an aluminium vehicle can achieve a 20% reduction in total lifecycle energy consumption and a 17% reduction in CO2 emissions.