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London Taxi's new electric cabs to debut next year in Amsterdam
Reuters | 2017/7/14

LONDON  -- A new electric version of London's classic black cabs is to arrive next year on the streets of Amsterdam, the first export market for the new model as the Chinese-owned London Taxi Co. seeks to sell half its output abroad.
 
The company, which plans to formally change its name to London EV Co. this year, is undergoing a rapid expansion since it was bought out of bankruptcy in 2013 by China's Zhejiang Geely Holding Group.

This year, the company opened an assembly plant in Coventry, England.

By 2020, it expects to produce 10,000 vehicles annually, and it hopes to sell half of those cabs overseas. New models include a yet-to-be-launched van, and the company has showcased a new plug-in hybrid taxi in several European cities.

CEO Chris Gubbey told Reuters the company had picked the Netherlands as its first export market because of its receptiveness to new technology and the new model's compatibility with the needs of disabled people, including its ramp and high roof.

"It is a city that is very progressive in terms of protecting and improving its air quality," he said. "They just recognize what the product can do for their market: the accessibility, the ease of getting in and out.

In Amsterdam, the taxis will be unavailable for hailing in the street, but will be part of a municipal service provided by Dutch company RMC to transport elderly and disabled people, Gubbey said.

Rohany Amat, RMC's COO, said the company has yet to decide whether the 225 vehicles it is acquiring will be painted black. But she predicted that the cabs will be successful in Amsterdam, and could be used later in Rotterdam.

"This car takes away all the boundaries and all the differences because it is possible to transport everybody, give everybody the same experience in a beautiful car and because it is purpose-built," Amat said. "And it is a sustainable car. That is very important.

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