LTC cuts ribbon on Coventry plant

The London Taxi Company (LTC) has opened the UK’s first car plant dedicated to the production of range-extended electric vehicles, creating more than 1,000 new jobs, including 200 engineers and 30 apprenticeships.

The new plant in Coventry will manufacture the world’s first purpose-built, mass-market electric taxi.

LTC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Geely, has invested more than £300m in the new site. It has the capacity to build more than 20,000 ultra-low emission commercial vehicles per year. Each vehicle will use Volvo Car electric powertrain system technologies and components comprising a new EV lightweight platform.

The all new electric taxi goes on sale first in London in quarter four 2017, understood to be around the £60,000-mark, and then around the world in early 2018.

Chris Gubbey, chief executive of the London Taxi Company, said, ‘Today marks the rebirth of the London Taxi Company. A company with a singular vision; to design and build dedicated urban commercial vehicles that can operate without emissions in cities around the world and bring down running costs for drivers.’

The fully integrated factory – from research through to production – will also become a globally connected research and development centre in electric vehicle powertrains and lightweight aluminum body structures, which will be applied in all vehicles made at the plant.

Carl-Peter Forster, Chairman of the London Taxi Company, added, ‘The opening of our new plant sets a number of records; it’s the first brand new automotive manufacturing facility in Britain for over a decade; the first dedicated electric vehicle factory in the UK; and the first major Chinese investment in UK automotive. We are extremely proud of what we have achieved today, and we have firmly put our stake in the ground as a new, global, automotive leader in urban commercial vehicles.’

The construction of this plant at Ansty was possible thanks to the commitment of government to support UK leadership in ultra-low emission vehicles, while the London Mayor and TfL have played a significant role in putting the taxi industry on a more sustainable footing – including their proposed taxi decommissioning scheme, their commitment to build a dedicated charging network for commercial vehicle drivers and world leading zero emission licensing requirements.

Shirley Rodrigues, the deputy mayor for energy and environment, said, ‘The Mayor and TfL are fully committed to helping the iconic London taxi trade become the greenest, most sustainable fleet in the world. With air quality at toxic levels in London, our Taxi and Private Hire Action Plan sets out bold measures to fully support the black cab trade’s evolution into zero emission capable vehicles. The pioneering models made at this factory will help fast track the taxi industry both in the UK and internationally into the next generation of cleaner vehicles, as well as creating many new jobs. Our further efforts to drive up standards across the taxi and private hire industry will also improve safety for every passenger in London, and protect the future of the unique and invaluable service that black cabs provide to Londoners.’

Zhou Jianqan, general manager at Geely Commercial Vehicles, added, ‘This dedicated electric vehicle plant, gives LTC and Geely the chance to lead the way in advanced British manufacturing as we look to solve the pollution challenges facing the world’s major cities. Urbanization continues around at such a pace with more than a billion new city dwellers expected by 2030. This move to cities will only be sustainable if all vehicles, including taxis, go electric. Our vision is to help solve the pollution crisis, not as an add on, but as a company dedicated to meeting the needs of commercial drivers and their passengers.’