Home » The LEVC L380 Is An Electric Minivan That Doesn’t Seem To Know Its Own Brand

The LEVC L380 Is An Electric Minivan That Doesn’t Seem To Know Its Own Brand

Levc L380 Topshot
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Every so often, a new luxury minivan comes along, and the latest is the LEVC L380, already rolling off the line in China. You know, LEVC, the London Electric Vehicle Company. Alright, that name might not mean anything to you, but I guarantee you’re familiar with LEVC’s biggest product, which is both a blessing and a problem.

See, LEVC was formerly known as the London Taxi Company, and I have a feeling there’s a good chance you can close your eyes and picture a black cab. Now open your eyes and look at the L380. Quite the difference, right? Granted, one of these vehicles is primarily for fleet use, while the other is supposedly for everyone, but it’s hard to believe the two are related in any way.

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

Perhaps unsurprisingly, London Electric Vehicle Company is owned by Geely, and I have a similar problem with the L380 that I do with the Volvo EM90 minivan. However, while the EM90 is a lazy rebadge, the handsome L380 doesn’t try to adopt any familiar identity at all.

In the media release for this new van, LEVC claims it’s “the first of a new range of innovative, spacious, fully electric models, which will see the brand accelerate its transition from a high-end taxi manufacturer to a leading provider of e-mobility solutions.” First of all, no. This is all meaningless word salad, much of which is frequently used by brands that have no idea what they’re doing and just want to be trendy.

Levc Tx

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Second of all, the L380 does nothing to leverage the greatest asset of LEVC — heritage. Outside of this generic minivan, the brand currently makes a retro-inspired London cab and a slightly kitchy commercial vehicle, both of which are rolling sculptures to people who go misty-eyed whenever someone says “Wolseley.” Sure, they may be as British as Indian takeaway underneath, but that doesn’t seem to affect the sentiments of tourists afflicted by an outmoded form of Anglophilia. The nation of royals turned into the nation of Heat magazine long ago, and the rest of the world somehow hasn’t quite caught on yet.

If you’ve assumed decades of public image and nostalgic goodwill, don’t throw it away, milk it for all it’s worth. Look at what Dodge did with the Challenger, or what Porsche is doing full-stop. Nobody cares that a Macan and an Audi Q5 are rather similar, they have vastly different public images that hook people in different ways.

Levc L380

The LEVC L380 has no public image. It’s a great-looking van, but is there anything at all that immediately and recognizably links this people carrier with the black cab? Anything? Bueller? It may sound like a stretch to say this thing would be better if it was roughly 52 percent uglier and had a thatched glovebox, but well, people would know what it is.

The L380 would make a great Geely, but it almost doesn’t seem that Geely recognizes LEVC is best positioned as a sort-of British Mitsuoka. Imagine a range of vehicles that try painfully hard to be quaint despite quite obviously having switchgear from Volvo and platforms shared with humdrum machinery. If people want to live in the past, let them, because good taste doesn’t always build a good brand.

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(Photo credits: LEVC)

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Marlin May
Marlin May
30 days ago

Ooooooh, please give The Bishop a whack at heritage-izing the LEVC L380. I’d love to see what he comes up with.

VanGuy
VanGuy
30 days ago

Eh, regardless of the brand identity, I think it looks nice, and I’ll always root for minivans.
But, of course…I’m in the U.S. and couldn’t afford EVs anyway.

Last edited 30 days ago by VanGuy
Oldskool
Oldskool
1 month ago

WTF? Ok let’s start with a blob that kinda sorta looks like a Dustbuster van, or that Plymouth detachable car concept, both from the 90s.

Now let’s play “pin the tail on the donkey” with the grille. Great, it’s way the fuck up here. So what should we do for an actual nose?

After a drunk brainstorming session, someone says “let’s make it look like it’s swallowing a car whole, like a snake eating a mouse!”. So someone carves an opening and does just that. Maybe backs a car in through the gate. License plate works. Slap covers over the Reese hitch and exhaust tips. For all we know the turn signals are the same, and the grille may actually be a headlight bar.

Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
1 month ago

I don’t know the British Taxi market is pretty small. Not sure how you expand it when Noone is buying cars just for taxis. I think to succeed you need to bust out of the box into something different to rebrand the image while maybe continuing with the taxi as a Marque model like a Chevy Corvette, or Ford Mustang, or Dodge Chalenger.

Eric Smith
Eric Smith
1 month ago

The place they need to start is paint the thing black.It would at leasst look a lot better.
Agree w/ Thomas. It’s a perfectly cromulent van, but should have a totally different badge.

Harvey Park
Harvey Park
1 month ago

> a leading provider of e-mobility solutions

Bwahahahhaa

I consult with smaller businesses and their press releases invariably start with “Acme, Inc, a leader in ”

A leader. Wtf does that even mean, and why would it matter if it were true?

Freelivin1327
Freelivin1327
1 month ago

Yeah, talk about a boring vehicle…almost fell asleep…ok going to bed now…good night

Jalop Gold
Jalop Gold
1 month ago

Hmmmm, it’s a wonder these LEV60F cells sitting in my garage are made in Japan! I wonder if there was a connection???

Andy Individual
Andy Individual
1 month ago

LEVC is a perfectly good British heritage name. It fits right in with MG, BMC, JLR, etc.

Harvey Park
Harvey Park
1 month ago

Wholly owned subsidiary of West Tyne Factories.

Greensoul
Greensoul
1 month ago

I always wondered what a modern day Chevy Lumina MPV would look like. I shall wonder no more!

Anders
Anders
1 month ago

Seems like parent company Geely is just pumping out new cars with no clear strategy or direction. A Volvo that is a rebranded Zeekr, Polestars that look like Volvo’s, Zeekr’s that look like Lynk&Co..

Matt Sexton
Matt Sexton
1 month ago
Reply to  Anders

It seems to me that Geely is just releasing brands with little regard for, well anything actually.

Anyone else remember when they bought Terrafugia? What was the thinking there?

Ranwhenparked
Ranwhenparked
1 month ago
Reply to  Anders

They’ve been at this for a long time –

Geely Chinese brands
Geely: 1998-present
Maple: 2003-2010, 2020-present
Gleagle: 2008-2016
Emgrand: 2009-2014
Englon: 2010-2013 (derived from “England London”, used as a fake British brand until they bought LTI, then gave Englon’s logo to London Taxi)
Zhidou: 2015-2020
Lynk & Co: 2016-present
Geometry: 2019-present
Livan: 2020-present
Zeekr: 2021-present
Radar: 2022-present
Galaxy: 2023-present

There really isn’t any Sloan-style brand strategy, they just kind of throw names out there randomly, and they’re rarely fully differentiated from the Geely parent company

Hugh Crawford
Hugh Crawford
30 days ago
Reply to  Anders

That Zeekr 009 looks good to me.

Frackle
Frackle
1 month ago

Confusing door handles aside, this would be a fantastic taxi. No idea what LEVC’s priorities are, but maybe they just wanted a weird looking fleet vehicle for that purpose?

Querty
Querty
1 month ago

For as much of generic this minivan may be, I’m glad they don’t let China sell none of this in America – it would be the end of the american brands.
As for us consumers, screw us I guess…

Ranwhenparked
Ranwhenparked
1 month ago
Reply to  Querty

Shut up you, you’ll buy your $80,000 F-250 King Ranch on a 9 year loan and like it, damn it

Brian Ash
Brian Ash
1 month ago
Reply to  Querty

Generic, plain, boring, ordinary, etc…. I almost don’t want to believe its an EV, guess the designers didn’t get the memo that EVs need to look like a jelly bean, egg, or turd. I just see a milk carton. Maybe blah plain look is the next hot thing!

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
1 month ago
Reply to  Brian Ash

It’s rolling vanilla.

Chris Stevenson
Chris Stevenson
1 month ago

Funny thing, LEVC does have another model and it’s styling does lean heavily on the taxi: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LEVC_VN5

Torque
Torque
30 days ago

From the wiki page link…
“The car was largely engineered by CEVT, a Geely subsidiary in Gothenburg, Sweden.[1]”

Seems Geely has more sub brands and subsidies than GM in the 1960s

Chris Stevenson
Chris Stevenson
30 days ago
Reply to  Torque

Yup. Which is why I’m so peeved that Geely is making Lotus build an SUV…

Ranwhenparked
Ranwhenparked
1 month ago

I still can’t believe LEVC is the absolute best name they could come up with- not that Carbodies or LTI were all that great, but what was wrong with London Taxi? (Geez, that company’s been renamed a lot in not too many years, hasn’t it?)

No unclaimed, unprotected British heritage trademark out there to claim? Maybe Beardmore? Try to do a deal with SAIC to get Austin?

Dar Khorse
Dar Khorse
1 month ago
Reply to  Ranwhenparked

Hear hear. “London Taxi” should be the name and they should go full John Bull and plaster the Union Jack on everything. They could have special collabs with: PG Tips (with built-in teapot!), Barbour (just look at that fine upholstery!), Crocket and Jones (hand tanned leather dash!) and Doc Marten’s (Curb Stomp edition!), etc. The options are endless for milking the wallets of Anglophiles the world round.

SNL-LOL Jr
SNL-LOL Jr
1 month ago
Reply to  Dar Khorse

You forgot Marks & Spencer.

Mike Harrell
Mike Harrell
1 month ago
Reply to  Ranwhenparked

L.S.D. Family is probably available, although now that British currency is decimalized the name would of course have no meaning whatsoever. Still better than LEVC, though:

https://auta5p.eu/muzea/louwman_museum_2022/louwman_215e.jpg

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
1 month ago

the handsome L380 doesn’t try to adopt any familiar identity at all.

Found it!:

“The name of the LEVC L380 is inspired by that of the Airbus A380 wide-body airliner, the world’s largest passenger aircraft, to promote the model’s spacious interior and comfort. Design cues of the minivan are also inspired by the fuselage of the plane

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LEVC_L380

Got the specs too:

“The L380 is powered by a single 200 kW (270 hp) motor produced by Viridi E-Mobility Technology Co. and a nickel-cobalt-manganate battery pack supplied by CATL.[3] The entry-level model’s battery pack has a capacity of 73 kWh with the top-level model’s battery having a capacity of 120 kWh. The range of the L380 is claimed to be around 600 km (370 mi). The charging time of the battery to go from 10% capacity to 80% is 30 minutes, with it reaching 200 km (120 mi) of range in 10 minutes.”

Last edited 1 month ago by Cheap Bastard
Drive By Commenter
Drive By Commenter
1 month ago
Reply to  Cheap Bastard

Inspired by a giant flop?

Those range figures seem, er, optimistic.

Urban Runabout
Urban Runabout
1 month ago

Ever fly on an A380?
Perhaps the most comfortable flop I’ve ever spent time in after the L1011/TriStar.

Drive By Commenter
Drive By Commenter
1 month ago
Reply to  Urban Runabout

Haven’t had the opportunity. Those 1011’s were also tech marvels that didn’t have the commercial success they deserved.

Urban Runabout
Urban Runabout
1 month ago

True that – The TriStar was much more advanced and comfortable than the more successful DC10.

The A380 is quite an experience – It’s so large that turbulence doesn’t seem to be a thing in the same way that the Queen Mary 2 just ignores rough seas by bridging the waves with it’s great length and breadth.

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
1 month ago

290 miles is probably closer to the truth

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