Exclusive from Reuters: Geely Auto plans to transform its London Electric Vehicle Company (LEVC) into an electric vehicle brand, which will have a range of new energy commercial and passenger vehicles. Geely Auto’s executives revealed this to Reuters.
LEVC is a British electric vehicle manufacturer of the famous black cabs in London, headquartered near Coventry in Ansty, and is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Geely Auto. The company is responsible for the electrification of London’s iconic black cabs. By April 2022, over 5,000 TXs have been sold in London, accounting for about one-third of the city’s taxi fleet.
Geely first entered the UK taxi manufacturing business in 2006, when it formed a joint venture with the predecessor of LEVC, the London Taxi Company, and its parent company, Manganese Bronze Holdings, to establish a taxi manufacturing joint venture in China.
Geely began considering the possibility of transforming London’s black cabs into electric vehicles in 2008. In 2009, Geely acquired a stake in Manganese Bronze Holdings.
In 2012, Manganese Bronze Holdings went bankrupt due to a lack of funds. In 2013, Geely saved part of the business and established its own taxi production company, the London Taxi Company.
Geely produces the TX4 taxi in Fengjing, Shanghai, which is a licensed black cab in London and is CKD exported for assembly in the UK.
Since 2014, Geely has invested £480 million in LEVC for the development of a new taxi model. In March 2015, LEVC announced that it will spend £90 million to build a new factory and office in Ansty Park, northeast of Coventry to create 1,000 jobs. Geely aims to produce 36,000 vehicles per year.
In 2017, the company launched the new LEVC TX electric-hybrid taxi and announced its intention to begin producing electric commercial vehicles in addition to taxis.”We need a mature product portfolio, and we need to invest heavily in technology and infrastructure. Geely will continue to invest in LEVC because it is a very unique project,” said Alex Nan, CEO of LEVC.
The hybrid taxis produced by LEVC have a starting price in the UK of about £66,000 and a pure electric range of up to 64 miles (103 km), with a total range of over 483 km. The company’s business has been severely affected by the pandemic, leading to the dismissal of 140 employees in October.
“LEVC and Geely will seek to attract other investors to join their electric vehicle business and seek to collaborate with other automakers to develop new technologies. There is a lot of value in our products that has not been fully maximized, and to develop LEVC into a globally recognized brand, we will expand the supply of our products to as many areas as possible,” said Alex Nan, CEO of LEVC.
Executives said Geely’s investment scale will be disclosed later. So far, Geely has invested £500 million in LEVC.
“We need to ensure that the entire UK environment is competitive and has a place on the world stage,” said Chris Allen, Executive Director of LEVC.
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