London Black Cab receives $400m windfall to roll-out zero-emission taxis
The development of a zero-emission London Black Cab vehicle has moved a step closer, after a Chinese automobile company raised $400m to support the roll-out of a new generation of electric taxis across the capital.
Zhejiang Geely Holding Group (ZGH) will utilise net proceeds from the first-ever Green Bond to be priced on the offshore market in the Chinese automobile industry to finance the design, development and production of zero-emission taxi models by its UK subsidiary, the London Taxi Company (LTC).
LTC chief executive Peter Johansen said: “We are committed to producing zero-emission capable vehicles. I believe the issuance of the Green Bond will further enhance our competitive edge in new energy technologies. Our next generation of zero-emission vehicles, the TX5, will be sold across the world, creating an environmentally friendly transportation system.”
As part of the overall investment, the new TX5 model will receive a £300m fund from ZGH – to be utilised in research and production facilities in the West Midlands – to ensure that the next generation London taxi will be compliant with new environmental requirements being introduced in London when it launches at the end of 2017.
ZGH plans to substantially raise production at LTC and position it as a leading manufacturer of environmentally friendly transportation through a number of zero-emission model concepts such as light commercial vehicles.
ZGH chief financial officer Yifan Li said: “We are delighted with the response of investors to our Green Bond offering. The issuance of the Green Bond is in line with our corporate vision to produce the safest, most environmentally friendly and most energy-efficient vehicles. The commitment of ZGH and all of the Group’s brands to reduce emissions means we are well positioned to benefit from the shift towards ever greener vehicles.”
Increased efforts have been made in recent times to address the air quality issue in London, which led to the capital breaching its annual pollution limits in just one week.
New London Mayor Sadiq Khan has vowed to improve London’s air quality by rapidly phasing out of diesel buses and taxis, to be replaced by a ‘clean bus corridors’ scheme and the implementation of a new hybrid or zero-emission double decker buses in the capital from 2018.
The first zero-emission taxi was recently licensed by Transport for London (TfL) to carry passengers around the UK’s capital, with a fleet of the model trialled on the road last year.
Last year, the Car Club Action Plan was jointly developed by Transport for London, London Councils and the Greater London Authority to grow the sharing economy idea into a mainstream alternative to private cars.