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London Taxi Co's electric cab goes global

By Angus Mcneice in London | China Daily | Updated: 2017-07-12 08:06

London Taxi Co's electric cab goes global

The TX maintains the iconic look of the London black cab, with rectangular grille, circular headlights, strong roofline and curved luggage space. [Photo by Angus Mcneice/China Daily]

The London Taxi Co, owned by Chinese automaker Geely, announced it had rebranded as London EV Co on Tuesday at the unveiling of the final design of the TX electric taxi in the British capital.

Chris Gubbey, CEO of LEVC, also announced a contract with Dutch company RMC to deliver 225 of the vehicles to Amsterdam. Gubbey said the company's ambition is to move beyond the London market.

He said: "Today's announcement ... demonstrates the need for EV urban commercial vehicles across Europe and the world."

Gubbey told China Daily that LEVC is in talks to deliver cars to several other European cities. Geely is currently constructing a factory in China that will produce the TX and plans to roll out the vehicles in Chinese cities in the next few years.

Geely acquired the London Taxi Co in 2013 for 11 million pounds ($14.2 million) and has since invested 325 million pounds in the business, including a 300-million-pound factory in Coventry to build the TX.

Gubby said: "Four years ago people didn't anticipate this, the company was just out of receivership and going through tough times. But early on the message from Geely was clear, the company was going to invest in product."

The TX maintains the iconic look of a London black cab though the taxis will no longer run on diesel.

The new vehicle combines an electric powertrain and battery with a small petrol generator, giving the car a range of around 110 kilometers on pure electric and a combined range of more than 640 kilometers.

The TX is a series hybrid, with all four wheels always powered by electricity and the petrol engine charging the battery when needed, as opposed to a parallel hybrid where the petrol engine cuts in and drives two wheels.

Gubbey said the decision to go with a hybrid engine over an all-electric car was driven by buyer concerns over range.

He said: "One of the things that people worry about even with a private car is range anxiety. With a commercial vehicle that becomes a critical part of the business, you cannot afford to have that anxiety."

The TX order book opens on Aug 1, commencing with drivers who have registered an interest. A driver's weekly payment plan for a new vehicle will vary on any existing deal on previous black cab models. Drivers will benefit from an estimated 100 pounds a week in fuel savings.

Recent UK legislation stipulates that all new London black cabs must be battery powered starting Jan 1, 2018. London's transport authority TfL currently anticipates that, by the end of 2020, 9,000 London taxis will be zero-emission capable vehicles.

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