Taximaker LTC targets Europe for low emission black cabs

COVENTRY-based black cab manufacturer, London Taxi Company, is not letting the prospect of the UK’s departure from the EU deter it in its quest for growth.

The Chinese-owned company is on the verge of opening its new £300m factory at Ansty Park, which will produce a hybrid version of the iconic black cab.

So long a feature on the streets of London, the company is now looking at other European capitals as it searches for potential new markets for its TX5 vehicle.

Even though the new vehicle won’t be rolling off production lines until the third quarter, the company has already held pre-launch events in Amsterdam, Berlin, Barcelona, Paris and Oslo as it looks to raise the profile of the new vehicle.

With many cities around the world now demanding lower emissions from the vehicles using their streets, the company has already received significant interest in the new vehicle.

The new taxi’s hybrid powertrain uses a small engine to top up its battery, but it can also run entirely on its battery, with zero emissions. LTC has said it is targeting a 70-mile range for electric-only propulsion.

The new factory, which is expected to open in March, has created around 1,000 new jobs.

LTC is owned by the Chinese automotive giant Geely, which rescued London Taxi International from administration in 2013.

LTC conducted a survey amongst London taxi drivers last year in which 80% of them said they were interested in switching to new ultra-low emission taxis.

The company said the move to electrically-driven taxis could lead to a dramatic improvement in London’s air quality.

It said this level of interest was why LTC was looking to engage and work with London’s government to improve the city’s sustainable infrastructure and to ensure the capital improved its air quality.

Plans to help achieve this include introducing a minimum of 150 rapid charging points across London by 2018 and 300 by 2020.

Chris Gubbey, CEO of LTC, said at the time the survey results were released: “LTC has manufactured the black cab in the UK for 69 years, and is investing £300m in bringing a UK-built zero emissions capable taxi to UK and international markets by 2018. We believe we can lead the charge in ensuring London’s air quality returns to safe and legal levels and believe that London can lead the world in zero emissions urban transport.”