London’s iconic black cabs are going green

The London Taxi Company has opened the world’s first manufacturing plant dedicated to building mass-market electric taxis. The plant is expected to build more than 20,000 ultra-low emission vehicles per year.

London’s iconic black cabs are undergoing a green revolution. Last week, the London Taxi Company (LTC) inaugurated its £300 million new electric vehicle manufacturing facility, the first of its kind in the world dedicated to producing purpose-built, mass-market electric taxis.

According to LTC, this is the first all-new vehicle manufacturing facility to be built in Britain in over a decade, and it is expected to create more than 1,000 new jobs, including 200 engineers and 30 apprenticeships. Owned by the Chinese automotive company Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, the plant will be able to build more than 20,000 electric vehicles per year when it reaches full capacity.

The new vehicles will use Volvo Car electric powertrain system technologies and components comprising a new EV lightweight platform. The hybrid cabs are designed to travel up to 110 kilometres on electric power alone, cutting carbon emissions and contributing to a reduction of London’s air pollution.

The first cabs are expected to go on sale in London later this year, ahead of the new Transport for London legislation coming into force on 1 January 2018 that requires all new cabs to have a zero-emissions capable range of at least 48 kilometres, reported Climate Action Programme.

The plant’s inauguration was celebrated by the Business and Energy Secretary, Greg Clark: ““Our iconic black cabs are famous across the world. The London Taxi Company’s 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 city of London is pursuing an ambitious plan to improve its air quality. Within days of becoming the city’s mayor last May, Sadiq Khan announced plans to more than double the size of London’s clean air zones. And just last month, he signalled plans to introduce a new charge for the city’s most polluting vehicles starting in October.

Image credit: Martin Varsavsky, flickr/Creative Commons

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