PHOTO CAPTION: Emerald T-001 extended range delivery van will offer more than 100km of electric-first driving range.

Emerald Plug-In Van Gets Go-Ahead in UK

Now owned by Geely of China, the Emerald T-001 is part of a £250 million investment that also includes London black cabs.

Published: 05-May-2016

When Geely, a leading Chinese automaker, took control of London Taxi International (LTI), the makers of the famed London black cabs, the deal also included acquisition of the T-001 project, an extended range electric-hybrid delivery van that uses the same aluminum chassis and powertrain as the new taxi.

The fate of the van project, which is operated under Emerald Automotive, found itself in limbo until now, reports AutoCar UK. The infusion of £250 million (US$363.5m) in fresh capital means production in Coventry of both the van and the taxi will now move forward and with it, some 1,000 jobs.

While both Renault and Nissan field similar sized vans in Europe and now the USA in the form of the Kangoo and e-NV200, respectively, both are battery-powered only. The Emerald and the TX5 taxi are powered by a combination of a 25kW/h lithium-ion battery pack mounted under the floorboard and a 4-cylinder petrol engine generator giving the van an electric driving range of up to 66 miles (106 km) and a hybrid driving range out to 342 miles (550km). Since London's congestion charge exempts electric-drive vehicles, presumably T-001 operators avoid these costly charges.

LTI, the manufacturer, estimates the fueling costs will be 18% that of today's conventional diesel Light Commercial Vehicles (LCVs), of which account for some 47 billion vehicle miles in the UK, along with their poisonous exhaust emissions.

Pricing has not yet been announced, but LTI notes that the 'whole life' operating costs of the T-001 will be less than a comparable diesel LCV.

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