The UK Geely subsidiary LEVC is opening up a new market with its hybrid taxi, which combines an electric drive with a combustion engine as a range extender. The LEVC TX eCity has now been launched in Japan with the Fleetway and Service Company acting as the official importer and dealer.
The order books in Japan will be opened in February, with first deliveries to customers scheduled to start in the second quarter of 2020. The market is substantial: according to LEVC, there are over 240,000 taxis in service in Japan, 50,000 of which are only in Tokyo alone. However, the company does not specify sales targets for Japan in the announcement. Just this much: since its premiere at the beginning of 2018, more than 3,800 TX are said to have been sold worldwide.
Thanks to its “combination of greater space, agile manoeuvrability and far better wheelchair access, not to mention its iconic status as the original London cab”, LEVC expects, according to its statements, that operators of taxi and shuttle fleets interested in the TX will be involved in the TX, who have otherwise used large premium limousines or minivans.
With the market launch in Japan, the company also intends to expand its “international presence in the field of environmentally friendly mobility solutions”. “The electric TX will set new standards across Japan in the taxi and premium shuttle market, delighting passengers, drivers and fleet operators alike,” says LEVC CEO Jörg Hofmann. “We are looking forward to seeing TX on the streets of Tokyo and across cities throughout Japan.”
The LEVC TX eCity has an electric range of 130 kilometres. With a range extender (a Volvo combustion engine), the total range is to be increased to around 600 kilometres. Like Volvo, LEVC belongs to the Chinese Geely Group. According to its statements, LEVC expects about 60 per cent of the vehicles built in Coventry, UK, to be exported by 2022, with 40 per cent remaining in the UK.
Some examples of the hybrid taxi are also on the road in Germany. Among other things, the Deutsche Bahn subsidiary Ioki in Hamburg uses 20 TX5 in on-demand service. Ioki also intends to use LEVC vehicles for the “mein SWCAR” service, which was set up in cooperation with the Krefeld public utilities. Modified versions of the TX will also be used for pilot projects for inductive charging of electric taxis in Cologne and Mühlheim.
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