The London Taxi Company (LTC) has opened a car plant in Coventry soley for the production of electric taxis.
LTC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Geely, has invested more than £300 million in the new site at Ansty, which has the capacity to build more than 20,000 vehicles per year. The next-generation London taxi will go on sale first in London in quarter four 2017, and then around the world in early 2018.
LTC said that the new vehicle will be "highly competitive" with "substantially lower fuel costs" than its previous taxis. The vehicle retains its key features such as being wheelchair accessible, and having a high level of manoeuvrability whilst incorporating new features such as a spacious cabin area with six passenger seats and a sophisticated electric drivetrain, LTC said.
The vehicle will use proven Volvo Car electric powertrain system technologies and components comprising a new electric vehicle (EV) light weight platform, while retaining the iconic design heritage. Further derivatives of this new EV architecture will follow.
The investment and expansion of LTC has created more than 1,000 new jobs, including 200 engineers and 30 apprenticeships, and has been supported by the UK Government through its Regional Growth Fund.
The factory, which features solar panels to help power it and 20 charging points for electric vehicles, will also become a globally connected research and development centre in electric vehicle powertrains and lightweight aluminum body structures, which will be applied in all vehicles made at the plant.
Carl-Peter Forster, chairman of the London Taxi Company, said: “The opening of our new plant sets a number of records; it’s the first brand new automotive manufacturing facility in Britain for over a decade; the first dedicated electric vehicle factory in the UK; and the first major Chinese investment in UK automotive. We are extremely proud of what we have achieved today, and we have firmly put our stake in the ground as a new, global, automotive leader in urban commercial vehicles.”
Zhou Jianqan, general manager at Geely Commercial Vehicles, added: “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.
"Our vision is to help solve the pollution crisis, not as an add on, but as a company dedicated to meeting the needs of commercial drivers and their passengers.”