The owner of the London Taxi Company, Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, has raised £275m for the development of greener hybrid taxis that will be made and ready to hit the streets in 2017.
We covered the TX5 black cabs when details were released last year, but now the money has been raised, development and production can begin.
Former Mayor of London Boris Johnson introduced measures enforcing that all London cabs must be capable of running with zero emissions by 2018, as part of ULEZ (Ultra Low Emission Zone) planning that’s set to take place across the capital in 2020.
The first of the hybrid TX5s will be available for sale by the end of 2017, and ZG Holding Group say they have the facilities to manufacture 36,000 of the vehicles annually – to be sold not just in the UK, but all around the world. “We’re going to do a clean taxi not only for the UK market, but it’s going to be a global product that we can definitely grow to help reduce emissions and provide a cleaner environment for everybody,” said Geely’s chief financial officer, Franki Li.
The £275m was raised by the sale of a five-year ‘green bond’, which the firm says attracted 6x more demand than it could satisfy! The bond carries an interest rate of 2.75%, which Geely said was the lowest coupon ever attached to a dollar-denominated bond issue by a Chinese car-maker. This is a positive sign of investor confidence that the money will be paid back.
The company will be spending £300m will be spent on a new research and production facility in Ansty, near Coventry, to develop the new model in an area that has long produced London black cabs.
How do you feel about the new hybrid taxis? Are you more likely to hail a cab if you feel it has green credentials? Let us know in the comments below.
Author Lex Barber