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Geely's electric taxi plans create 1,000 British jobs

By Cecily Liu in London | China Daily UK | Updated: 2017-03-23 00:20

Geely's electric taxi plans create 1,000 British jobs

London Taxi Company makes electric taxis in its newly opened factory in Coventry. Provided to China Daily

Chinese carmaker Geely's new 300 million pound ($373 million) electric taxi factory in Coventry will create 1,000 local jobs and invigorate the UK's auto industry, despite uncertainties over Brexit.

Geely, through its subsidiary London Taxi Company, announced the plan in London on Wednesday, the latest in a wave of Chinese carmakers investing in the United Kingdom's electric car market.

Business Secretary Greg Clark and Transport Minister John Hayes welcomed the factory, which will include a state-of-the-art research, development, and assembly facility where the new TX5 model, a zero emissions taxi, and other hybrid technology vehicles will be made and developed.

The project is being supported by a 16.1 million pound investment from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, via the Regional Growth Fund, which was awarded in 2015.

More than 20,000 vehicles a year can be assembled at the factory, which is the UK's first dedicated car factory making electric vehicles for the global market.

Its first taxis will be sold during the fourth quarter of 2017, in London at first and internationally in 2018.

Li Shufu, chairman of Geely, confirmed in an article published on Wednesday in The Telegraph his continued confidence in the UK as a "hub for innovation in new energy technology, for manufacturing expertise and for skills".

Li said Geely's strategy starts with convincing taxi drivers of the benefits of electric vehicles, which include lower operating costs and clean technology. Once drivers are on board the company will "also convince other parts of the commercial vehicle sector to embrace zero-emissions technology".

Clark, the UK minister, said: "The London Taxi Company's impressive new factory and R&D facility showcases the innovation that makes the UK a world leader in the development of new automotive technologies."

Also on Wednesday, the UK's Department for Transport announced a further 64 million pounds of investment to promote the use of electric taxis.

Transport Minister John Hayes said: "This government is committed to improving air quality and reducing pollution in towns and cities … This is also great news for the economy as we invest in cutting-edge technology and the next generation of transport and engineering professionals by creating thousands of new high-skilled jobs."

Geely acquired the maker of London's iconic black cabs, Manganese Bronze, in 2013, after it went bankrupt, and it subsequently rebranded the company LTC. Manganese Bronze had made London taxis since 1948.

Last year, China's BYD delivered 51 all-electric buses for use in London. Meanwhile, Changan Automobile is carrying out electric car research at its R&D center in Birmingham, and FAW Group is conducting electric car research along with the University of Nottingham.

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