The London Taxi Company is looking to expand its market. The company is owned by Chinese automaker Geely, the same company that also owns Volvo. It has recently completed a $400,000,000 upgrade to the factory where it builds its TX5 plug-in hybrid taxi for use in London. It thinks those cabs, with their wide doors, plentiful interior room, and low emissions would also work just fine in other cities.
The company is looking at such cities as Barcelona, Oslo, Amsterdam, and Berlin. Last week, it took its new TX5 plug-in hybrid to Paris, where concerns about persistent smog are unusually high. Paris recently announced plans to ban cars built prior to 1997 from its roads during week days. Those cars account for only 10% of all vehicles in use in and around Paris, but are responsible for more than 40% of its transportation related carbon emissions. Many of them are diesels with rudimentary pollution controls. Diesels emit particulates and nitrous oxide, both of which are major components of smog.
“Most of the major cities in Europe have an air-pollution problem,” said Peter Johansen, head of the taxi manufacturer. He says limited range “is what has stopped until now the adoption of electric vehicles as the mainstay of taxis.” Since the TX5 is a plug-in hybrid, range is not a concern.
The London Taxi Company is also interested in selling its vehicles to ride sharing services such as Uber and Lyft. “We are offering a global product that will be a global beater,” said Johansen, who says the car can reach European markets even if the UK votes to leave the European Union on June 23, because the country is “so much part of Europe now.”
London’s cabs aren’t the only ones going green. France’s leading taxi company, Taxis G7, and Uber Technologies now allow customers in France to order electric and hybrid vehicles on their apps. Since December, tourists can also tour Paris in a vintage Citroen 2CV retrofitted with an electric drivetrain.
Source: Automotive News Photo credit: London Taxi Company