Geely is a Chinese company that you might have never heard of. But you have seen some of its products on the road, and will soon ride in them. Not only does it own Volvo, which it acquired from Ford in 2010, but it also owns The London Taxi Company. In March of this year it announced over £300 million in investment and a new factory in Coventry.
The London Taxi Company has now been rebranded LEVC, the London EV (electric vehicle) Company, and finally taken the wraps off its all new model, the TX. Along with the Mini and the Porsche 911, the black cab is one of those iconic designs that no designer dare stray too far from. Like those two, it appears to have captured the iconic look of the original while still being modern. One welcome change is a return to ‘suicide’ or rear-hinged rear doors, not seen since the original Austin FX4.
But it’s not the doors or the Volvo steering wheel that is the most dramatic change, it’s under the skin. The TX will be the first London cab not powered by a diesel. It will be a range extended electric car. This means an electric motor will spin the wheels while an engine ensures the battery has enough range to complete the journey. The driver can choose to either plug it in or fill it up, giving the best of both worlds.
On battery power alone, the company says it can achieve “well over 70 miles of range with zero emissions” and when the small petrol generator kicks in, that takes it to over 400 miles. This, LEVC claims, will save drivers over £100 per week in fuel and unlike other EV manufacturers, will not be sold with a separate battery lease.
Much to the surprise of some purists, the TX will be offered internationally with the company having taken 225 orders from the Netherlands.
“From our heritage as the manufacturer of the iconic London Taxi, we have unparalleled insight into the needs of commercial operators,” Chris Gubbey, CEO of LEVC said. “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.”
The company has also announced that it plans to add a light commercial vehicle to join the range. This will have the same hybrid powertrain as the cab.
The new TX went on sale on the 1st of August. For more information, visit theelectrictaxi.co.uk