The world’s most advanced electric taxis have been handed over to drivers in Coventry for the first time. The first range extended electric taxi will be licensed in the city today – and will then be ready to carry passengers in the city where they were designed and built. Coventry has historically been the home of taxi production in the UK – and LEVC (formerly known as The London Taxi Company) has built the hackney carriage in the city for the past 70 years. This has made the black cab a symbol of the city – and the taxi’s rejuvenation has come at a time of renaissance for the city. The arrival of these purpose-built electrically driven vehicles means that Coventarians will now get to experience the greater comfort and safety that comes with a taxi designed and built by motoring experts from across the West Midlands. The new taxi, the TX, is already getting positive reviews – and the arrival of the vehicle However, the new vehicle is no stranger to those in Coventry - as it has been extensively tested in the city and surrounding area. A good part of the vehicle’s million-mile test program took place on local roads and nearby test centres like Mira Technology Park.
Thiruchelvam Selvaratnam who has been a taxi driver for many years was the first Coventry driver to place an order for the TX. Mr Selvaratnam and drivers like him will be supporting LEVC’s efforts to make electric taxis the ride of choice for taxi passengers in Coventry. 65% of people living in Coventry have already said that they would specifically chose an electric taxi, if given the option. And LEVC will be working with drivers to collect passenger feedback in the city to inform the development of future versions of the taxi – all to ensure that LEVC’s vehicles remain focused on the needs of passengers. These purpose-built, electrically driven taxis are being produced at LEVC’s new £325m facility which has been producing for cabs since January. This new factory in Ansty Park is just 5 miles from Coventry City Centre.
Chris Gubbey, CEO of LEVC said: “Our purpose-built, passenger focused taxi, has been designed with the intention of getting more people back of cabs – offering the safest, cleanest, quietest and smoothest taxi ride yet. We are delighted to have had the support of Coventry drivers to deliver this vision for the taxi trade in Coventry – and I look forward to hearing about how they all get on in the new cab.”
LEVC’s electrification project is due to create up to a thousand new jobs in the area – and is playing a role in establishing Coventry as a leader in the development of electric vehicles. As well as the taxi, LEVC is also developing range extended electric vans – which will be on sale next year. Coventry already has charging infrastructure in place for these vehicles, and last year won £1.2m funding in central Government funding to support the installation of 39 rapid charging point for taxis and minicabs across the city. Announcements on how this money will be allocated are due to be made later this year.
Councillor Kamran Caan, cabinet member for public health and sport for Coventry City Council said: “I’m delighted that we are set to have new electric taxis on our roads. They will offer a new level of comfort and they will be very good for the environment – helping to improve air quality in the city.” “Coventry is the home of the black cab and this focus on advanced electric taxis will see more jobs created for local people which is great news. “I’m sure they will be a welcome addition to the fleet as people increasingly want to make environmentally friendly choices about how they travel.”