His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales earlier this week visited the home of the electric taxi, LEVC’s Ansty facility on the outskirts of Coventry.
The visit to LEVC’s facility - the UK’s newest car factory and the UK’s first dedicated electric vehicle manufacturing centre - was an opportunity for His Royal Highness to see how the UK car industry is becoming more sustainable.
LEVC produced and sold over 1,200 electric taxis in 2018 – which have helped significantly reduce emissions from the taxi sector in London and beyond. Emissions from the sector in 2018 in London were cut by at least 8,600 tonnes of CO2 and 1.9 billion mg of NOx compared to 2017 levels.
Carl-Peter Forster, Chairman of LEVC said: “LEVC were delighted to welcome The Prince of Wales to see the UK’s first dedicated electric vehicle factory which was built following investment from Geely – particularly given his efforts to promote more sustainable living in the UK. We believe that LEVC’s new factory and our ground breaking new electric taxi represents the future of UK automotive and builds on the UK’s world-leading expertise in light weighting technology.”
As part of the visit, The Prince was introduced to the team behind LEVC’s new electric taxi, the TX eCity. This included those who work in LEVC’s aluminium body shop who use parts made from recycled aluminium sourced from a recently re-opened facility in Wales. His Royal Highness’ visit coincides with the start of celebrations of 70 years of taxi production in the city and showcases Coventry’s close cultural connection with the iconic vehicle.
As part of the celebrations of this anniversary - a new exhibition, “Taxi: The history of A to B” opened at Coventry Transport Museum, which celebrates the city’s taxi building heritage.
The first electric taxis were actually built in Coventry over 110 years ago. However, it is the diesel versions of the taxi, the iconic black cab, which the city is famous for building and was put front and centre of Coventry’s successful bid to become City of Culture 2021. These vehicles have been produced by LEVC (and its predecessor companies LTC, LTI and Carbodies) since 1948.
As such, High Royal Highness was introduced to all of the key vehicles built by the business over the past 70 years – including the world-famous Fairway.
‘Taxi: The Story from A to B’ was officially opened at the Coventry Transport Museum by Councillor John Blundell, the Lord Mayor of Coventry; Curator Patrick Murphy; and LEVC Chief Executive Chris Gubbey.
As well as charting the evolution of the taxi from a manufacturing and engineering point of view, the exhibition uncovers the part they play in people’s everyday lives.
Stories can be shared with Coventry Transport Museum by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or on social media using #CoventryTaxi.
Ruark Jon-Stevens, Marketing and Communications Manager of Culture Coventry, said: “We had a very successful launch event with a range of key figures from across the city and with many people who have played and continue to play a major role in the taxi industry.
“TAXI includes fantastic exhibits that show how taxis have changed over time and the huge role that Coventry has had to play in manufacturing and engineering.
“There are also some wonderful documentaries on show that highlight some of the stories behind taxis in the city and we are really keen to capture more of those throughout the duration of the exhibition, particularly through social media.”
Cllr Blundell, the Lord Mayor Coventry, said: “This is a wonderful celebration of a big part of Coventry’s manufacturing heritage. It’s incredible to think that the taxi developed in the city has gone on to become a global icon.
“My praise goes to everyone involved in the Taxi exhibition for producing such as fantastic record of the vehicle’s past, present and future.”
Curator Patrick Murphy said: “The whole project started in 2017 when I undertook an artist residency at Coventry Transport Museum.
“Part of that was concentrating on an untold story or a hidden gem and that is where the idea came from to look at the taxi, from the very first beginnings of the early vehicle right through to the work is going on at LEVC today.
“Through this work, we highlight that Coventry produced an electric taxi as early as 1897 – which had a range of 30 miles and could only travel nine miles an hour!
“It’s been an absolute pleasure to be able to pull out some of those stories and the links to Coventry and its people in this exhibition. It has been made possible by great support from Coventry Transport Museum, LEVC and many others.”