The London Taxi Company (LTC) is set to open its £300m electric black cab factory in Coventry in March with a view to producing its first vehicles for the UK market later this year, according to reports.
Speaking to Reuters, the Chinese-owned company’s chief executive Chris Gubbey revealed more than 600 workers had already been hired at the facility, which is expected to create 1,000 jobs once completed.
The expanded manufacturing facility is set to produce up to 36,000 of the company’s TX5 hybrid black cab models each year. The low emission cars include back-up petrol engines but are designed to travel up to 70 miles on electric power alone, curbing running costs, air pollution, and carbon emissions. The factory will also focus on EV research and development.
Gubbey reiterated plans for the company, which was taken over by Chinese manufacturer Geely in 2013, to expand production in order to sell the low emission vehicles in Europe from next year.
The move comes amid growing concerns about levels of air pollution in the UK capital, where this month the Mayor Sadiq Khan has issued alerts to residents about high levels of NO2 in the city.
A recent survey by LTC also suggested London cabbies are keen to switch to lower emissions models before tougher emissions regulations come into force in 2018.
In related news, oil giant Royal Dutch Shell is reportedly set to introduce electric vehicle charge points at some of its European petrol stations, while rival Total is also considering installing battery chargers at its fuelling stations in France.
As the acceleration towards electric vehicles continues apace, charging points are likely to be first installed at Shell filling stations in the UK and Netherlands later this year, according to the Financial Times, which also reports that Total is “studying the viability” of similar roll out at its facilities in France.
Shell’s director of downstream business did not say how many charge points would be installed, but told the FT the oil giant was looking at rolling out battery charging facilities in a number of countries, as well as undertaking research into other fossil fuel-substitutes such as hydrogen and biofuels.