Exclusive-Geely plans to turn maker of London black cabs into EV powerhouse

By Nick Carey COVENTRY, England (Reuters) - China's Geely is planning a big investment to turn the maker of London's iconic black taxis into a high-volume, all-electric

brand with a range of commercial and passenger vehicles, executives at the unit told Reuters. London Electric Vehicle Company (LEVC) also aims to expand its suite of

services, which include cars arranging their own maintenance and recognising their owner's interests to help them book activities. "We need a developed product portfolio. We

need to make big investments in terms of the technology and infrastructure," LEVC Chief Executive Alex Nan said at the taxi maker's headquarters in Coventry, central England.

"Geely will make consistent investments into LEVC because this is a very unique project." LEVC builds a hybrid taxi model that starts at around 66,000 pounds ($81,500),

which has a battery providing 64 miles (103 km) of range and a petrol range-extender giving it a total range of over 300 miles. The company's business was hit hard by the pandemic

and it laid off 140 staff in October. Nan said LEVC and Geely would seek to attract other investors to its zero-emission portfolio and would look to partner with other

carmakers to develop new technology. Executives said the size of Geely's investment would be disclosed later. So far the Chinese group, which took full control of LEVC in

2013, has invested 500 million pounds in it. "Geely fully supports the new transition strategy laid out by LEVC's board and executive team," Geely said in a

statement.