Geely, an important Chinese automotive company behind London’s iconic black cabs, announced having raised $400 million through a green bond sale with the goal to electrify its taxi fleets (via Bloomberg). The money will go toward the development of the plug-in hybrid version of the classic 1958 FX4 black cab, now renamed TX5.
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The TX5 is equipped with a panoramic glass roof, a Wi-Fi hotspot and can accommodate up to six passengers – one more than the current version.
Not many details are known about the vehicle’s electric drivetrain as of now, but Geely already manufactured several battery-powered vehicles in China.
Though the black cabs will be manufactured in England as the company is about to move in a new factory in Coventry. The automaker will start working on the first TX5 prototypes in the next few weeks and aims to bring the vehicle to production during the fourth quarter 2017.
London is expected to be the main client, especially since the city set a new deadline of Jan. 1, 2018, for when it will require all new taxis to be electric, but the factory’s capacity is up to 36,000 electric vehicles per year – indicating that they would expand their sales to other cities.
Geely’s CFO, Frank Li, said that the automaker is already in discussions with other European “mega cities” to develop new fleets of electric black cabs.