A new plant on the outskirts of Coventry will build up to 36,000 London taxi cabs a year, as the company announces plans to invest heavily in more environmentally-friendly vehicles.
The London Taxi Company (LTC) — owned by Chinese manufacturer Geely — currently has a Coventry plant that employs 240 staff and makes 2,000 taxis a year. When the new plant opens in a couple of years, it's expected to lead to 500 new jobs and increase production nineteen-fold. Of course, not all of the vehicles will end up on the streets of London; they'll find their way into other UK cities and even abroad (the hackney carriage, for example, is a familiar sight in Shanghai).
So, apart from a a fleet of shiny cars, what do these expansion plans mean for London? Well, hopefully less air pollution. According to the BBC Geely has pledged £80m for the research and production of its new TX5 model. Initially, this will mean a hybrid engine, but a fully electric version has been touted for 2018. The larger, more technologically-advanced factory should help Geely and LTC realise these targets.
London's first electric zero-emission taxi — the Metrocab went on trial earlier this year, and is already licensed to carry fare-paying passengers.