Electric cars and a medium-size automaker in China may soon get a big boost.
According to this article, China’s Geely Motors is in negotiations with British officials over the launch of electric taxis in London next year.
Geely is a co-owner of a company, Manganese Bronze, that describes itself as “the leading manufacturer of the distinctive London black taxi.
Here’s an excerpt from the article:
"One of our ideas is to convert London taxis [to electric propulsion]," Li Shufu, the company's chairman, told the Financial Times. "We are doing research on this project."
Matthew Cheyne, Manganese Bronze's international development director, told BusinessGreen.com that a partnership between his company and electric vehicle specialist Tanfield Group, announced in April, is progressing and that the first electric black cabs could be on London’s roads early next year.
"We have given Tanfield some gliders [engineless taxis], basically vehicles that they can start doing some work on, but it is very much in the early stages, " said Cheyne.
According to information released in April the all-electric version of Manganese Bronze’s TX4 black cab – to be branded the TX4E – will have a top speed of 50mph and a range in excess of 100 miles on one battery charge.
Although there is not a specific date set yet for trials of the electric cabs, Cheyne confirmed that the companies were looking at early next year to introduce a fleet of ten prototype vehicles.
Given Geely's international reach the cabs may be deployed elsewhere in the world but London will offer a "good proving ground" for the technology, according to Cheyne, because of the intensity at which the fleet would be used and the potential infrastructure for recharging.