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The London Taxi Company (LTC) has revealed plans to develop an electric commercial van in addition to producing its new TX5 electric black cab model at its newly-opened manufacturing and R&D facility in Coventry, which we reported in Irish Tech News yesterday, you can read the article here

Representing a major vote of confidence the nascent Electirc Vehicle industry, the Coventry facility is the first new car manufacturing factory to open in the UK in almost a decade, as well as the first ever UK car plant dedicated solely to producing low emission electric vehicles.

Opened by BEIS Secretary Greg Clark yesterday, the factory is expected to create 1,000 new jobs, including 300 engineers and 30 apprenticeships.

Fresh from cutting the ribbon at the UK’s first ever dedicated electric vehicle factory yesterday, LTC and its Chinese parent company Geely announced an additional £30m investment to begin producing light commercial electric vans at the Midlands facility.

The additional £30m for electric vans brings Geely’s total investment in the Coventry EV factory to £325m, with £295m having already been set aside for constructing the factory and giving the iconic black cab a green makeover.

Aimed at the last mile, on demand delivery space, LTC said the “highly flexible” electric vans would help fleet owners lower their running costs and “support cities in tackling the pollution crisis in urban areas”.

The company expects to begin production of the new electric taxis at the factory shortly and we will see the first cabs start appearing on London roads towards the end of the year, in perfect timing for new Ultra-Low Emission Zone rules set to kick in within the next few years.

The factory will have the capacity to produce up to 20,000 electric black cabs each year.

LTC has not yet announced a production timeline, capacity nor an estimated cost for its electric vans, which by all accounts are currently still in the research and development stage.

But, with the explosion of last mile deliveries adding to already significant issues of congestion and air pollution in cities, the production of an electric van appears to be a shrewd diversification strategy by LTC as its Chinese owners Geely seeks to gain a foothold in the growing EV market, Electric Vans may well become their hero product.

Carl-Peter Forster, LTC chairman, said the company’s 200-strong R&D team have been “working round the clock” to build upon its core EV and develop plans for an electric commercial vehicle.

“In addition to our brand-new taxi, the manufacturing of this all new light commercial van is a transformative step for the company as we will move from a single product, single market organisation to a multi-product, multi market organization,” he said. “We remain absolutely committed to designing and manufacturing dedicated, range extended EVs that build upon our deep knowledge of advanced technologies and the needs of the urban commercial sector.”

Geely has major export plans for the electric vehicles it will produce in the UK, with more and more cities across Europe and China seeking to reduce emissions from petrol and diesel vehicles.

Zhou Jianqan, head of Geely’s commercial vehicle division, said the light commercial van sector held “enormous potential” around the world as more cities embrace zero emission transport. “This vehicle is a result of the new R&D team based at Ansty and will complement Geely’s global expertise in electric vehicle technology adding to the world class talent across the group,” he added.

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