The manufacturer of the iconic black London taxi has said that it anticipates ‘strong’ demand for its new range-extended electric model, which is due to enter the market later this year.
London Taxi Company unveiled the design of its new TX eCity model at an event in East London this morning (11 July), which is designed to meet emissions restrictions within the capital.
LTC – a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Chinese carmaker Geely, which also owns Volvo – will also rebrand, becoming the London EV Company (LEVC), with a greater focus on the commercial market.
The company is targeting the development of an electric light commercial vehicle based on the ‘eCity’ technology which is incorporated into the TX taxi.
Chris Gubbey, chief executive of LEVC, said: “Today is an incredibly exciting day for the company, for the world’s cities, for the air we breathe and for the drivers of commercial vehicles. The launch of LEVC marks Britain’s leadership as a first mover in creating the world’s only dedicated electric vehicle company for the urban commercial market.
“From our heritage as the manufacturer of the iconic London Taxi, we have unparalleled insight into the needs of commercial operators. Drawing on the best of British design and engineering as well as technical expertise from our sister company Volvo, our products will help transform city living and provide taxi drivers with an average weekly fuel saving of £100 compared with our outgoing diesel model.”
“London has led the way in setting out tough measures to reduce taxi and van emissions and in just a few short years we expect EVs for the commercial operator will not just become commonplace, but mandatory in cities around the world creating huge opportunities for LEVC globally.â€?
LEVC will be taking orders for TX-model taxi from next month (1 August), and the company claims that the launch of the vehicle has been spurred by ‘strong’ demand from taxi drivers to contribute to improvements in air quality in the capital.
Estimates by Transport for London suggest that by 2020 – when an Ultra Low Emission Zone will be in effect in central London – as many as 9,000 taxis will be zero emission capable in the capital.
The vehicle is powered by a battery electric powertrain with a 1.3 litre petrol engine, made by Volvo. The technology allows for a range of over 400 miles including over 70 miles range with zero emissions.
The new model has been designed with the ‘heritage’ of London’s black cab in mind, the company says. Other design features include luggage storage space adjacent to the driver, a six passenger capacity, mobile-phone charging points and in-cab wifi capability.
The new model has been built at the company’s £300 million manufacturing facility at Ansty near Coventry, opened in March, which will have the capacity to produce more than 20,000 vehicles per year, when operating at full capacity.
Vehicle cost is expected to be a key driver in the demand for the new vehicle, with recent research suggesting that vehicle cost is among the major barriers to the greater take-up of electric taxis (see airqualitynews.com story).
LEVC has yet to publicly reveal the purchase cost for the new model, but has claimed that drivers will benefit from a reduction in their weekly operating costs due to fuel savings.
As well as interest from London, the company has received interest for the vehicle from overseas, with a deal for an initial 225 vehicles through the Dutch taxi operator RMC, to be delivered in 2018, also announced today.