China’s Geely plans to invest significantly in the London Electric Vehicle Company (LEVC), the maker of London’s iconic fleet of black taxis.
“A very unique project,” says Alex Nan, LEVC Chief Executive, of the investment. Geely aims not only to expand electric taxi production for the city, but also to develop new technology and infrastructure to support the transition to electric in the automotive industry.
LEVC’s current hybrid taxi model has a battery that provides 64 miles (103 km) of range and a petrol range-extender that gives it a total capacity of 300 miles.
However, LEVC was hit hard by the pandemic, and Britain’s EV ambitions were dealt a blow when Britishvolt, a startup that had planned to build a major battery factory in northeast England, filed for administration.
Geely’s investment brings the potential to increase building capacity from 3,000 taxis a year to 20,000—with room to expand the plant.
LEVC and Geely also seek to attract other investors to their zero-emission portfolio, and partner with other carmakers on improving current technology and design. Chris Allen, LEVC Managing Director, states that a huge amount of value in their product has yet to be maximized. “This is about growing LEVC into a much more recognizable brand on a global scale,” says Allen.
While LEVC executives have not yet disclosed the size of Geely’s investment, the Chinese group—which took full control of LEVC in 2013—has invested 500 million pounds in the electric vehicle company.