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China’s Geely Intends To Transform The Manufacturer Of London Black Cabs Into An EV Powerhouse

China’s Geely Intends To Transform The Manufacturer Of London Black Cabs Into An EV Powerhouse
China's electric car company Geely is contemplating making a large investment to transform the manufacturer of London's iconic black taxis into a high-volume, all-electric brand with a range of commercial and passenger vehicles, according to reports quoting executives at Geely
The London Electric Vehicle Company (LEVC) also intends to expand its suite of services, which include cars that arrange their own maintenance and recognize their owners' interests to assist them in booking activities.
"We need a developed product portfolio. We need to make big investments in terms of the technology and infrastructure," LEVC Chief Executive Alex Nan said at the taxi maker's headquarters in Coventry, central England. "Geely will make consistent investments into LEVC because this is a very unique project."
LEVC manufactures a hybrid taxi model that starts at around 66,000 pounds ($81,500) and has a battery with a range of 64 miles (103 km) and a petrol range-extender with a total range of over 300 miles. The pandemic had a significant impact on the company's operations, and it laid off 140 employees in October.
Nan stated that LEVC and Geely would seek to attract additional investors to its zero-emission portfolio and collaborate with other automakers to develop new technology.
The size of Geely's investment, executives said, would be revealed later. The Chinese group, which took complete control of LEVC in 2013, has so far invested 500 million pounds in it.
"Geely fully supports the new transition strategy laid out by LEVC's board and executive team," Geely said in a statement.
Geely announced a 2 billion pound investment in another unit, niche British luxury sports carmaker Lotus, in 2021, with plans to massively expand production of its sports cars and build high-end SUVs and sedans in both the United Kingdom and China. Geely is planning to expand LEVC in a similar manner, according to executives.
Britishvolt, which had planned to build a major battery factory in northeast England, filed for administration last week, putting the country's EV ambitions in jeopardy.
"We need to make sure the UK environment as a whole is competitive and has its position on the world stage," said LEVC managing director Chris Allen.
Geely owns several brands, including Volvo and Polestar, which it owns through a joint venture with Volvo. Zeekr, another brand in the group, filed for an initial public offering in the United States last month.
As a result, Geely faces a level of complexity that larger EV manufacturers BYD and Tesla have avoided.
Allen stated that LEVC was looking into a variety of commercial and passenger car models based on a common electric platform. It can lean on other group brands that already have EVs to "move forward in a fast, agile way".
Allen stated that the company already uses a Volvo infotainment system and software, as well as a steering wheel from the Swedish automaker, which allows it to save money.
"There's nothing we couldn't deliver in a very short time period if we needed to, but it's just a question of timing," he said, adding LEVC could easily have a full range of EVs on the road within five years.
"But in two years time, is the industry going to be ready, is the charging infrastructure going to be there, is consumer confidence going to be there?"
LEVC's Coventry factory currently has the capacity to produce 3,000 taxis per year on a single shift. Allen stated that this figure could easily be increased to 20,000, and that the plant had room to grow. It could also rely on Chinese manufacturing, as Lotus has. A large car plant produces approximately 300,000 vehicles per year on average.
"There's a huge amount of value in our product that hasn't ever really been maximised," Allen said. "This is about growing LEVC into a much more recognizable brand on a global scale and expanding our product offering into as many spaces as we can."

Christopher J. Mitchell

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