News : Black cabs to hail from Coventry again

Carole Nash Classic Insurance Specialists

The recently re-branded, and now Chinese-owned, London Taxi Company (LTC) has opened a new factory in the UK to build the brand-new, plug-in hybrid (PHEV) LTC TX5. The factory in Ansty, near Coventry, is the UK’s first dedicated electric vehicle manufacturing facility, according to its owner.

London Taxi Company’s owner Geely has spent more than £300 million on the factory and the new Black Cab, and has promised that it will create around 1000 new jobs at the facility. The new range-extender TX5 will go into production at the plant and on sale in the UK later in 2017 before being marketed globally early in 2018.

The factory will have the capacity to build up to 20,000 vehicles a year and will also become a research and development hub for lightweight aluminium body structures and future electric vehicle powertrains.

What will your new Black Cab look like?

Judging by the pictures which have been released, reassuringly familiar. It might well be the ‘the world’s first purpose-built, mass-market electric taxi’ but it’s been styled with more than a nod to traditional taxis, which will please London’s tourism sector no end.

It was styled at Geely’s Design Studio in Barcelona by Peter Horbury, David Ancona and their team, and uses composite body panels over an aluminium structure. It is an efficient design, with low kerb weight being a priority in order to keep down running costs. It will go head-to-head with the latest Metrocab tested by AROnline in 2014, and will be powered by a similar battery electric powertrain with a range-extending internal-combustion engine – although full details of the new TX5’s drivetrain are yet to be revealed.

The rear doors are rear-hinged, and six passengers can be carried in the rear, which remains accessible to wheelchair users. Fare payers will be treated to 21st-Century conveniences, such as on-board Wi-Fi, USB charge points and an all-glass panoramic roof. The driver’s compartment is improved as well: it’s bigger, brighter and blessed with improved ergonomics – often overlooked in the pursuit of the maximum passenger space.

Does LTC have plans for any additional models?

LTC’s Research and Development Team, which currently has around 200 members, has also been developing a dedicated, range-extended electric light commercial van (LCV). The company says that the LCV will use the same platform as the TX5 and plans to bring the additional model to market through an incremental additional investment of around £30m – that will take the total investment from parent company Geely to £325 million.

Chris Gubbey, LTC’s CEO, said: ‘This is going to be the future proofed “white van” that people have been waiting for. Designed solely for the urban commercial sector, dedicated to the people who keep our cities working, it will be clean, competitive and ready for cities of the future.’

Keith Adams

Keith Adams

Editor and creator AROnline at AROnline
Created www.austin-rover.co.uk in 2001 and built it up to become the world's foremost reference source for all things BMC, Leyland and Rover Group, before renaming it AROnline in 2007.

Is the Editor of the Parkers website and price guide, formerly editor of Classic Car Weekly, and launch editor/creator of Modern Classics magazine. Has contributed to various motoring titles including Octane, Practical Classics, Evo, Honest John, CAR magazine, Autocar, Pistonheads, Diesel Car, Practical Performance Car, Performance French Car, Car Mechanics, Jaguar World Monthly, MG Enthusiast, Modern MINI, Practical Classics, Fifth Gear Website, Radio 4, and the the Motoring Independent...

Likes 'conditionally challenged' motors and taking them on unfeasible adventures all across Europe.
Keith Adams

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14 Comments

  1. What will the Chinese factory build? Will it continue to build the TX4 and will this be imported into the UK? Or will we just have the TX5?

  2. The guy has invested £300m in providing a thousand jobs from a U.K. located factory. The car looks like a taxi. Brilliant! More power to the team and the iniative!

  3. Nice to see the TX5 has a traditional retro look about it. A production target of 20,000 cabs a year from the West Midlands factory sounds like a vote of confidence in Post Brexit Britain – if it’s achieved.

  4. Very imposing a worthy update to a British icon, the factory looks impressive as well,I was reading that there maybe a van version as well.

  5. With Peter Horbury and Carl Peter Forster in the team it should do well but what effect is Uber having on the black cab market, especially at a predicted £60k/vehicle. A bit surprised about the glass panoramic roof – that will seriously add to the electrical demand of the HVAC system while a solar panel roof would make more sense?

  6. A bit boxy looking (to maximise interior room presumably) but it still looks like a London Taxi. And is definitely more attractive than the new Metrocab!

    Slightly strange that both this and the Metrocab are so secretive about which petrol engine they’ll be using, which is fairly fundamental to their designs

  7. Last 300 tx4 in production now being sold as le model (last edition)
    Then we are left with this thing that rumours are is going to cost £60,000 cab drivers can not afford it
    The metrocab is dead not going to happend and who are thay going to sell 20000 cabs to the UK demand is only about 1000 to 1200 a year can you see a German cab driver buying this over a 30000 pound Vito
    I can’t
    I am a London cab driver and don’t know anyone who wants it or should I say afford it
    Tx4 euro 6 is a fantastic cab

    • From next year don’t all new London cabs have to be hybrid or electric? Your Euro 6 TX4 is effectively being legislated out of existence.

      • Thay have to be zero emmision capable from next year but only new cabs as it stands you can still keep all taxis for 15 years
        This may be a great cab but at 600000 over 5 years will cost 1300 to 1400 per month cab drivers cant afford it
        Most london cab drivers live outside london i do a 50 mile drive to work if i used this my charge nealy gone when i get to work be chugging round all day with petrol engine running

  8. A good piece of news for Coventry and this new taxi should prove to be success. I’d think companies and individuals that operate these London type taxis will be glad to have a taxi that has all of the advantages of the old one, but will be a lot quieter to drive and cheaper to run.

  9. I remember the first time that I saw the previous generation of taxi, around 1997 and thinking what a clever design it was. It could be nothing other than a London taxi, yet it looked modern too. This doesn’t. It’s dominated firstly my a Montego estate style glass house and secondly by tow many flat surfaces, especially the bonnet. It actually looks looks dated already!

    Of course I wish it success as a UK built car (depending on how much of it may be imported from China), but the styling just doesn’t seem to work. Here’s hoping that the photos released so far have simply been unkind to the design.

  10. I hope the ride quality is better than the previous model! Speaking as a passenger, it was pretty dire!

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