After 70 years as The London Taxi Company, the manufacturer of the UK capital’s iconic black cabs has changed its name to the London EV Company (LEVC).
Timed to coincide with the unveiling of the firm’s new TX low emissions taxi, which will take to London’s streets later this year, the rebrand follows huge investment by the firm’s owner – China’s Geely Group – targeted at reinventing the company as a leading developer of specialist lightweight, low-emission vehicles.
As previously reported by The Engineer, the company unveiled a new dedicated production facility for electric vehicles in Ansty, on the outskirts of Coventry.
The new taxi – which goes on sale next month (August 2017) has been designed to meet legislation due to come into force in 2018 specifying that all-new London taxis are zero-emissions capable. Transport For London has claimed that by the end of 2020, 9000 London taxis will be “zero emission capable” vehicles.
The company also has bold plans to sell the new vehicle to international markets, an ambition that received a boost recently in the form of an order for 225 vehicles from Dutch taxi-operator RMC.
The new car uses an advanced battery electric powertrain and a small petrol range extender. This so-called eCity system – developed in partnership with Geely stablemate Volvo – gives the vehicle a range of over 400 miles including well over 70 miles range with zero emissions. LEVC claims that with this range, a driver could take passengers from London to Edinburgh or Paris without once needing to stop for fuel. The car is also expected to enable taxi-drivers to make an average weekly fuel saving of £100.
The vehicle has also been designed with lightweighting in mind and has been built using the latest techniques in aluminium bonding. This avoids welding or riveting – which reduces the weight of the cab, completely offsetting the additional weight of the battery, whilst maintaining vehicle strength.
Commenting on the firm’s direction, CEO Chris Gubbey said: “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.”