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The London Taxi Company has announced it is changing its name to The London EV Company (LEVC) at the launch of the new version of the traditional London Taxi, following an announcement earlier this year that the new cab will also form the basis of a plug-in hybrid light commercial vehicle.
LEVC is owned by Chinese parent company Geely Holdings, which also owns Volvo Cars, and will manufacturer the new taxi and its future LCV spin-off at its state-of-the-art factory in Ansty, Warwickshire, which it opened last year.
The taxi will run for about 70 miles on its battery, before switching to a petrol engine that operates as a range extender – effectively a generator that continues to supply charge to the electric motor rather than drive the wheels directly.
From next year, all new London cabs must be capable of zero tailpipe emissions, leading LEVC to develop its own powertrain. While the new taxi, named the TX, uses a petrol engine to sustain the electric motor’s batteries as a range-extender, there will be opportunities to fast charge the cabs using a new network of rapid chargers that are being installed in London before the end of 2018.
The company’s Chief Executive, Chris Gubbey, said, “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 electric vehicles for the commercial operator will not just become commonplace, but mandatory in cities around the world, creating huge opportunities for LEVC globally.”
The new taxi will be on general sale from 1 August, to private individuals and taxi rental firms in London initially, while the cab will also be supplied to towns and cities outside of the capital, including some overseas. An order for 225 vehicles has already been placed by Dutch taxi operator RMC.