London Taxi Company goes electric
Hybrid taxis start rolling off the line at New Coventry-based factory
The London Taxi Company, best known for its easily recognised FX-series of taxicabs, has opened a new vehicle plant in Coventry.
Its new factory is tasked with the production of range-extended electric vehicles – and it's claimed to be the first all-new automotive plant opened in Britain in over ten years.
LTC, which is owned by Chinese automotive manufacturer Geely, will build its new mass-market TX5 hybrid taxi at the plant.
The new TX5 is due to arrive in the UK in late 2017.
More than £300m has been invested in the new plant and the TX5 project itself. In excess of 1000 jobs have been created, including 30 apprenticeships, and the site is claimed to be capable of building more than 20,000 vehicles a year.
Chris Gubbey, CEO of LTC, said: "Today marks the rebirth of the London Taxi Company. A company with a singular vision; to design and build dedicated urban commercial vehicles that can operate without emissions in cities around the world and bring down running costs for drivers."
The TX5 taxi features a new platform and a plug-in hybrid powertrain, sourced from Volvo. It's claimed to have a pure electric range of 70 miles, after which a three-cylinder engine will chime in to top up the battery.
Using a range-extending system cuts down on the need to regularly visit a charging point, helping the TX5 stay in service for longer periods. LTC says that the lighter and quieter taxi also features seating for six, is wheelchair accessible and wired for Wi-Fi connectivity.
The new taxi's zero-emissions electric mode should help cut down noise and pollution on London's increasingly crowded streets – as well as allowing the taxi to meet new emissions restrictions, which come into play on 1 January 2018.
The new TX5 will also be offered around the world in 2018.
The plant itself also features 850 square metres of solar panels and 20 charging points for electric vehicles. Zhou Jianqan, general manager at Geely Commercial Vehicles, said: "This dedicated electric vehicle plant gives LTC and Geely the chance to lead the way in advanced British manufacturing as we look to solve the pollution challenges facing the world’s major cities.
"Urbanization continues around at such a pace with more than a billion new city dwellers expected by 2030. This move to cities will only be sustainable if all vehicles, including taxis, go electric.”
LTC is planning to build a light commercial van with range-extending technology at its new plant, too. Jianqan added: "The light commercial van sector in cities across the globe holds enormous potential and urban leaders are embracing zero emissions at an incredibly rapid pace."