Exclusive: Geely plans to turn maker of London black cabs into EV powerhouse

Exclusive: Geely plans to turn maker of London black cabs into EV powerhouse

COVENTRY, England, Jan 23 (Reuters) – China’s Geely (0175.HK) is planning a giant funding to turn the maker of London’s iconic black taxis into a high-volume, all-electric model with a spread of business and passenger autos, executives on the unit informed Reuters.

London Electric Vehicle Company (LEVC) additionally goals to increase its suite of companies, which embody vehicles arranging their very own upkeep and recognising their proprietor’s pursuits to assist them ebook actions.

“We want a developed product portfolio. We want to make massive investments in phrases of the expertise and infrastructure,” LEVC Chief Executive Alex Nan stated on the taxi maker’s headquarters in Coventry, central England. “Geely will make constant investments into LEVC as a result of this can be a very distinctive venture.”

LEVC builds a hybrid taxi mannequin that begins at round 66,000 kilos ($81,500), which has a battery offering 64 miles (103 km) of vary and a petroleum range-extender giving it a complete vary of over 300 miles. The firm’s enterprise was hit exhausting by the pandemic and it laid off 140 employees in October.

Nan stated LEVC and Geely would search to entice different traders to its zero-emission portfolio and would look to companion with different carmakers to develop new expertise.

Executives stated the dimensions of Geely’s funding could be disclosed later. So far the Chinese group, which took full management of LEVC in 2013, has invested 500 million kilos in it.

“Geely totally helps the brand new transition technique laid out by LEVC’s board and government group,” Geely stated in a press release.

In 2021, Geely launched a 2 billion pound funding in one other unit, area of interest British luxurious sports activities carmaker Lotus, to massively increase manufacturing of its sports activities vehicles and construct high-end SUVs and sedans in Britain and China. Geely is following the same path in its plans to develop LEVC, executives stated.

Britain’s EV ambitions have been dealt a blow final week when startup Britishvolt, which had deliberate to construct a significant battery manufacturing unit in northeast England, filed for administration.

“We want to be sure that the UK atmosphere as an entire is aggressive and has its place on the world stage,” stated LEVC managing director Chris Allen.


Geely owns a number of manufacturers together with Volvo (VOLCARb.ST) and – through a three way partnership with Volvo – Polestar . Zeekr, one other model within the group, filed for a U.S. preliminary public providing final month.

As such, Geely faces a complexity that bigger EV makers BYD (002594.SZ) and Tesla (TSLA.O) have averted.

Allen stated LEVC was exploring a spread of business and passenger automotive fashions on a typical electrical platform. It can lean on different group manufacturers that have already got EVs to “transfer ahead in a quick, agile approach”.

The firm already makes use of an infotainment system and software program developed by Volvo and a steering wheel from the Swedish carmaker, permitting it to minimize prices, Allen stated.

“There’s nothing we could not ship in a really brief time interval if we wanted to, however it’s only a query of timing,” he stated, including LEVC might simply have a full vary of EVs on the highway inside 5 years.

“But in two years time, is the business going to be prepared, is the charging infrastructure going to be there, is client confidence going to be there?”

LEVC at present has the capability to construct 3,000 taxis a 12 months operating on a single shift at its Coventry manufacturing unit. Allen stated that would simply be elevated to 20,000 and the plant had room to increase. It might additionally lean on manufacturing in China as Lotus has, Allen stated. A serious automotive plant produces on common round 300,000 autos per 12 months.

“There’s an enormous quantity of worth in our product that has never actually been maximised,” Allen stated. “This is about rising LEVC into a way more recognizable model on a worldwide scale and increasing our product providing into as many areas as we are able to.”

($1 = 0.8095 kilos)

Reporting by Nick Carey, Additional reporting by Zoey Zhange in Shanghai and Norihiko Shirouzu in Beijing
Editing by Mark Potter

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.