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Bi-fuel evolutions of the LEVC TX taxi and VN5 van; range extender engines run on LPG/biopropane and CNG/biomethane

HP Taxis, Prins Alternative Fuel Systems and SBL-Automotive revealed of the plug-in hybrid range-extended electric LEVC TX taxi and VN5 van allowing the range extender engine to run on LPG and CNG and their renewable counterparts of biopropane and biomethane. The LEVC TX and VN5 are manufactured by London EV Company (LEVC), a subsidiary of Geely.

TX and VN5 image 3

Adopting these fuels allows carbon emissions from the range extender engine to be reduced by 10% when LPG is used, 20% when CNG is used and by 99% when renewable biomethane (in place of CNG) and biopropane (in place of LPG) are used. Biomethane and biopropane can both be made from waste feedstocks such as food waste, farm waste and sewage and both are in volume production already.

Biomethane and biopropane are drop-in replacement fuels for CNG and LPG and require no changes to refueling infrastructure or to a vehicle already evolved with a bi-fuel fuel system (CNG or LPG). All of these fuels are available today and also offer 30-50% operating cost savings. Further savings are expected as biomethane and biopropane production volumes continue to ramp up.

The bi-fuel system consists of the following components:

  • Prins VSI-3 DI system with 3-year warranty

  • LPG/biopropane fuel tank or CNG/biomethane fuel tank

  • LPG/biopropane vaporizer or CNG/biomethane pressure regulator (both warmed by engine coolant)

  • Gaseous fuel injectors

  • Bi-fuel ECU

LPG Biopropane vapouriser injectors

LPG / biopropane vaporizer injectors

For CNG/biomethane the engine bay layout is similar. However in place of the LPG / biopropane vaporizer, a CNG / biomethane pressure regulator is fitted instead.


Engine bay of a bi-fuel LPG/biopropane LEVC TX/VN5

The LPG/biopropane evolution of the TX adopts a 50 liter fuel tank and the CNG/biomethane evolution adopts two 40 liter fuel tanks.


50 liter LPG / biopropane tank in the trunk of the TX.

Compared to the vehicle range using gasoline, the LPG/biopropane tank provides a further 90% of this range and the CNG/biomethane tank provides a further 70% of this range. Based on LEVC’s WLTP-based range figures of 64 miles using the battery and a further 319 miles using the 36 liter gasoline tank (i.e., total range 383 miles) the bi-fuel evolutions therefore deliver a further 287 miles for LPG/biopropane and 223 miles for CNG/biomethane.


CNG/biomethane tank installation in the payload area of the VN5.

Total range is therefore 670 miles for the bi-fuel LPG/biopropane evolution and 606 miles for the bi-fuel CNG/biomethane evolution. A number of fuel tank solutions are also being developed for the VN5 including placing the tanks under the floor rather than in the payload area.

Conversion costs are still in development but the target is for the system paying for itself in 12 to 18 months. This of course depends on the number of miles driven, the miles per gallon achieved and future changes in the price of the fuels. Prices for biomethane and biopropane are expected to decrease in the future as production volumes continue to ramp up.


Albert E Short

London cabs were part of the proposal for hybrids using Bladon microturbines as range extenders.


Internal combustion in any form still pollutes; the only thing that works is not burning carbon in the atmosphere.


The LEVC Range Extended EV have a 64 mile electric range that could be recharged during the day to cover most of the miles traveled. With the option of biomethane/biopropane, they are almost as good as an EV.
Here is a comparison of the Ford Transit PHEV and the LEVC VN5:
If you need an ICE for the few times you need long range, then burn biofuel.

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