LEVC are set to build a ‘low-specification’ version of its successful electric TXE model. The new model branded as the ‘Icon’ is set to enter production in September 2019 and will be produced to help aid growth outside of London.
Tight licensing rules in the capital make the development of a less-costly model for London impractical. However, Joerg Hoffman, CEO of LEVC, did suggest a lower spec model, with subtle downgrades in some functionalities, could work for the market outside of London. The downgraded changes haven’t been announced by LEVC yet, but could include changes to wheelchair accessibility and the removal of the much loved turning circle for cities where it’s not a requirement. LEVC could also chose to implement sliding doors and remove the passenger sun roof, which would mirror the design of its commercial electric van design. The Taxi Icon would meet standards in other UK and European cities and reduce the current £55,600 list price, which some drivers see as a barrier to buying their first electric vehicle. Research published earlier this year by TaxiPoint, the taxi industry’s biggest independent UK publication, highlighted cost as one of the challenges facing drivers looking to move to electric taxis. The report showed the three biggest concerns holding cabbies back are the initial cost of the taxi (78.5%), the stability of the taxi industry (70.8%) and the current charging network (62%). Research also showed that just one in ten cabbies want to remain in their current diesel vehicle, but over 55% of drivers yet to make the change say they are unlikely to go electric in the next 5 years. Steve McNamara, General Secretary of The Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association, said at the time of the research release: “This clearly shows that there is massive appetite within the trade for this modern, clean and fuel efficient vehicle. The well known downsides of price, availability and the lack of charging infrastructure are also clearly indicated in this revealing and groundbreaking survey.”