Chinese-backed UK plant builds next generation electric black cabs
Chinese automotive manufacturer Geely have opened a car plant in the United Kingdom to build the next generation of electric black cabs.
The state-of-the-art research, development, and assembly facility at Ansty Park near Coventry in the West Midlands, is the first UK plant to be dedicated to the production of range-extended electric vehicles.
The new plant at Ansty is building new TX5 hybrid electric black cabs for global export markets.
Image: The London Taxi Company
Officially the site belongs to The London Taxi Company, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Zhejiang Geely Holding Group (“Geely” – a multinational car maker with headquarters in Hangzhou, in Zhejiang province, China).
Geely have invested more than £300 million in the new site, which will mass-produce new TX5 hybrid electric black cabs for global export.
With the aim of producing the “best ultra-low emission commercial vehicles in the world,” the new factory has a capacity to build more than 20,000 vehicles a year.
Creating over 1,000 jobs
The company says the new “fully integrated factory” – which incorporates research and development through to production – will help create over 1,000 new high-skilled jobs, including positions for 200 engineers and 30 apprentices.
Geely owns Volvo, which is where the new “powertrain” technology for the next generation electric black cabs will come from.
The new technology will be combined with an all-new light-weight aluminium body structure designed for electric propulsion with a modern style that retains the iconic design of the familiar London black cab.
The London Taxi Company chairman Carl-Peter Forster says the new factory is the first new car plant to be opened in Britain for over 10 years, and moreover, is the “first dedicated electric vehicle factory in the UK, and the first major Chinese investment in UK automotive.”
UK government investing £64 million to promote use of electric taxis
Business secretary Greg Clark said at the opening ceremony that the “impressive new factory and R&D facility showcases the innovation that makes the UK a world leader in the development of new automotive technologies.”
The launch of the new car plant coincides with the government’s announcement of a £64 million investment to promote the use of electric taxis.
The money will support two schemes: one that gives taxi drivers up to £7,500 toward the cost of a new vehicle, and another that will support the installation of new charging stations for electric black cabs in 10 council areas.
Video – Electric black cabs plant at Ansty
The following video from The London Taxi Company describes the journey of the London black cab and how the next generation will be built at Ansty.