The sale marks a new phase for London Taxi Co (LTC)., which is planning to expand its reach beyond the UK with its new battery-powered model called the TX that was designed in Barcelona and unveiled Tuesday.
The cab’s trademark turning circle and roomy interior suits the narrow streets of Amsterdam as well as requirements for wheelchair users, said Albert Donlou, director of services at RMC, in an interview.
Designers were keen to ensure the “face” of the new cab conveyed a message that the driver was reliable and serious yet friendly, and was neither too cute nor too aggressive or retro, said David Ancona, managing director of Geely Design Barcelona. The interior can fit six passengers, compared with five for the current model, and features a large sunroof, as well as a large touchscreen for driver navigation.
Geely wants to tap into the global market for low-emissions vehicles. More than half of new cars sold globally will come with a plug by 2040, led by cities in Europe, China and the U.S., according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance.
“The launch of LEVC marks Britain’s leadership as a first mover in creating the world’s only dedicated electric vehicle company for the urban commercial market,” CEO Chris Gubbey said a statement on Tuesday.
LEVC unveiled the first version of the new cab, named TX. It retains key elements of the classic model, including doors that open backward to 90 degree angles and will be powered by a battery and a small gasoline generator, known as a range extender. That will allow drivers to travel from London to Edinburgh, or even Paris, without needing to refuel, according to the statement.
The price tag of the new TX model will be announced on Aug. 1, when order books open for individual drivers, a spokesman for LEVC said by email. The new taxi will go on sale in London in the fourth quarter, and in the first quarter of 2018 in the rest of the world. Steep declines in the cost of batteries, that account for about a third of the cost of the vehicle, stopped the company from determining the price earlier.
London’s Mayor Sadiq Khan decreed that all new taxis in the city need to be capable of operating with zero emissions starting in 2018, either by pure electric or hybrid motors. As well as targeting London’s 23,000 diesel-powered taxis, Geely has toured European cities from Paris to Berlin, seeking to drum up interest for a potential export market.