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24 July 2017

London Taxi Bringing Electric Cab Rides to Cities Around the World

London Taxi Co. has reinvented itself as the London Electric Vehicle Co. and is preparing to bring electric taxi rides around the world.

Going that route has brought in an initial order of 225 electric vehicles for delivery in the Netherlands, said CEO Chris Gubbey.

Owner of the company, Chinese automaker Geely, had invested 325 million pounds ($420 million) into it. That money had gone into the previous London Taxi Co., road testing the TX5 model on the streets of London. Geely subsidiary Emerald Automotive had provided a space frame aluminum chassis. Volvo provided technical expertise.

Using Emerald’s aluminum bonding technique avoids welding or riveting, and this reduces the cab’s weight while helping to extend range.

Now the electric taxi is called the TX, which uses what it calls eCity technology based on an advanced battery-electric powertrain and a small gasoline generator. The plug-in hybrid taxi can go a little more than 644 kilometers (400 miles), with 112 km (70 miles) in battery only mode.

Having this range onboard means the taxi company can take passengers from London to Edinburgh, Scotland, or Paris without stopping for gasoline or charging.

“Drawing on the best of British design and engineering as well as technical expertise from our sister company Volvo, our products will help transform city living and provide taxi drivers with an average weekly fuel saving of 100 pounds ($129) compared with our outgoing diesel model,” Gubbey said.

The TX cab will make it to the streets of London later this year as LEVC finalizes its quality and testing. The testing procedure has exposed the electric taxi to the extreme heat of the Arizona desert and freezing temperatures of the Arctic Circle, the company said.

LEVC expects strong demand to come from London once orders start being taken on Aug. 1.

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“London has led the way in setting out tough measures to reduce taxi and van emissions, and in just a few short years we expect EVs for the commercial operator will not just become commonplace, but mandatory in cities around the world, creating huge opportunities for LEVC globally,” Gubbey said.

The design team tapped into iconic, historic taxis that have driven the streets of London for several decades. The rectangular grille and circular headlights are part of it, along with a rear-hinged passenger door with 90-degree opening.

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