British Geely subsidy LEVC (London EV Company) wants to produce and offer its electrified London Taxis with range extender in the People’s Republic, too. Market launch is scheduled for 2019.
A Chinese production site for the hybrid taxis is currently in construction three hours south of Shanghai. It shall have three times the production capacity of its equivalent in Great Britain, where 20,000 to 30,000 units are to roll off the lines annually.
But that’s not all: LEVC wants to roll out its Black cabbie first of all in Europe, before targeting Hong Kong, Shanghai, Singapore, Beijing and then vast regions of China.
Regarding the production facility in China, LEVC plans to manufacture not just taxis but also several vehicles for commercial use. “The big advantage of our aluminium technology is that you can change the shape and size of the body with relatively little investment compared with a steel body”, says Carl-Peter Forster, Chairman of the London EV Company. The next variant of the taxi shall be a commercial van for city deliveries.
In December, the electric Black Cabs has begun operations in London. It is designed to drive fully electric while a 1.5-liter gasoline engine supplied by Geely-owned Volvo charges the battery and stretches the range to up to 640 kilometres, according to LEVC. The upgrade to the new electric model will cost cabbies about 55,000 pounds but LEVC CEO Chris Gubbey says it will also save about 100 pounds on average weekly fuel costs.