Black cab turns green as London taxi firm undergoes EV rebrand
Black cabs in the capital are set to undergo a green makeover after the London Taxi Company announced a rebrand at the unveiling of its new electric model.
The newly-named London EV Company (LECV) will use a new electric car which can operate for around 70 miles at zero-emissions, with a petrol engine extending the total range to more than 400 miles. The TX model, which has been tested in the icy conditions of the Arctic Circle, is due to launch in London later this year.
LECV’s chief executive Chris Gubbey hailed the company’s rebrand as an “exciting” move for “the company, for the world’s cities, for the air we breathe and for the drivers of commercial vehicles.”
“The launch of LEVC marks Britain’s leadership as a first mover in creating the world’s only dedicated EV company for the urban commercial market,” he said.
Production will take place at the company’s new £325m facility in Coventry, which was financially supported by LECV owner Geely. The Chinese firm raised funds through green bonds priced on the offshore market in the Chinese automobile industry to support the development of the zero emission taxis.
LECV hopes that its foray into the EV market will boost international sales. It has already received an order from RMC, one of the Netherland’s largest taxi operators, for an initial 225 sales to be delivered in 2018.
The company will work with local government in the UK to improve the infrastructure for EVs, pledging to introduce a minimum of 150 rapid charging stations by 2018 and 300 stations by 2020.
TfL is spending £18m on upgrading the capital's power grids to charge the first generation of battery-powered black cabs. From 1 January 2018, all new black cabs will have to be battery-powered electric models by law as part of Transport for London’s (TfL’s) effort to reduce toxic pollution from diesel engines.
TfL figures reveal that black taxis are accountable for around 15% of nitrogen oxide produced from traffic in London. Taxis are also accountable for a quarter of PM10s – soot like particles that the World Health Organisation (WHO) uses to measure air quality – from London traffic.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan has vowed to improve London’s air quality by rapidly phasing out of diesel buses and taxis, meaning that the new vehicles need to be able to drive without generating tailpipe emissions. Even though the new taxis are fitted with additional petrol motors to extend driving range, it is believed these taxis will comply with Khan’s vision.