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Chinese-owned electric taxi maker reveals next-gen tech.


Chinese-owned electric taxi maker reveals next-gen tech. Subscribe to Electric Vehicle News Bitesize Podcast for FREE to hear more!

The Chinese-owned London Electric Vehicle Company (LEVC) has revealed the new platform that will underpin its electric vehicles, including the famous London black cab.

LEVC – which shares its Geely parent company with Volvo, Lotus, Polestar and Proton – says the new platform can be customised for purpose-built vehicles aimed at taxi, ride share, or commercial delivery operators.

The brand currently offers London’s famous cabbies an electric alternative to their existing cars, along with an electric van. It’s likely the new platform will underpin next-gen versions of those vehicles.

Named the Space Oriented Architecture, it has been developed over the last two and a half years across China, the United Kingdom, Sweden, and Germany.

Space Oriented Architecture can support vehicles from 4860mm to 5995mm in length, 1945mm to 1998mm in width, and vehicles with a wheelbase between 3000mm and 3800mm, which makes it easily adaptable to various segments.

The platform can support batteries between 73 and 120kWh, which can supply a driving range of up to 430 miles and have ultra-fast charging capabilities.

LEVC says the new architecture can support front-, rear-, or all-wheel drive powertrains.

An additional feature of the platform will be the company’s L-OS software which has been developed for use across multiple applications.

The L-OS system allows for up to Level 4 autonomous driving capabilities, along with features such as fully-digital cockpits for drivers.

LEVC promises the interior of vehicles on this platform can be optimised for ultimate comfort, with multiple seating configurations available – all of which are easily adjustable thanks to tracks running along the floor.

Space inside the vehicle has been a fundamental focus for the platform. The battery is centrally-located which allows for a flat floor, while its powertrain components are at the front to allow for additional space within the cabin.

Over-the-air updates will be available for vehicles underpinned by the Space Oriented Architecture. This will allow for on-going improvements.

This architecture allows the company to introduce the LEVC brand into multiple segments while reducing costs on development.

LEVC and Geely have opened the technology and design to other companies in an effort to make sustainability more easily accessible.

The UK-based LEVC company has been involved in the manufacturing of London taxis since 1908.

After changing names and acquiring several different companies, in 1985 it became London Taxis International.

In 2006, the company announced its joint venture with Geely to build a factory in Shanghai that would produce taxis for international markets beyond the UK, including China.

Later in 2013 after holding a 20 per cent stake in the business, Geely took ownership of the English-based manufacturer.

Fast forward to 2017, and the London Electric Vehicle Company name was born. It now has plans to focus its efforts on electric vehicles.

In other news, Tesla CEO Elon Musk praises Ford’s electric car strategy.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has praised Ford’s overall strategy with electric vehicles, defending its rival’s financial performance in the early years of its Electric Vehicle rollout.

“Always tough with margins for new vehicle lines, especially when there are major technology shifts,” said Mr Musk on Twitter.

“I think Ford’s overall strategy with EVs is smart.”

The CEOs of Ford and Tesla are known for both praising and poking each other online.

Ford CEO Jim Farley has publicly praised Mr Musk before, congratulating him on winning TIME’s 2021 Person of the Year, but he has also poked him last year by saying “Take that Elon Musk” while celebrating the early success of the F-150 Lightning.

Likewise, Mr Musk congratulated Ford in 2021 on “embracing an electric future”, but teased the Blue Oval brand with a clip from the Chris Farley comedy Tommy Boy in response to a perceived jab at Tesla’s Full Self-Driving beta system.

Ford is aiming for a global Electric Vehicle production goal of 600,000 units by the end of this year and two million by the end of 2026.

The company says it anticipates 40 to 50 per cent of its vehicle fleet will be electric by 2030.

By the end of that same year, it aims to have a pre-tax profit margin of eight per cent for its Model e electric vehicle division, which it says operates like a startup.

It reorganised its business last year into three units: Model e, Ford Blue (combustion and hybrid vehicles), and Ford Pro (commercial products and services).

The company expects to lose US$3 billion before taxes in the Model e business this year, an increase from the US$2 billion loss it experienced in 2022, which resulted in a margin of around negative 41 per cent.

The division had an EBIT (earnings before income and tax) decline of US$722 million in the first quarter of this year.

However, it says it’s on track this year “toward a contribution margin approaching breakeven” in Model e, and for its first-generation products to have positive EBIT margins by the end of next year.

Mustang Mach-E volumes declined during the quarter as Ford reduced production at its Mexican facility for several weeks to double production capacity; F-150 Lightning volumes were also affected by a production pause after a battery fire.

Ford is building three new battery facilities with SK, and construction is underway of the new Blue Oval City Electric Vehicle manufacturing complex in Tennessee.

Ford’s investment in these plants is expected to cost the company around US$11.4 billion and create around 11,000 jobs.

Its Oakville, Ontario factory in Canada, which produces the outgoing Ford Edge and Lincoln Nautilus, is also being retooled to produce EVs and battery packs.

Mr Farley has complimented Mr Musk and Tesla in the past, but more recently has praised Chinese brands after a visit to the Shanghai motor show.

“The best new brands are offering integrated digital, retail, lifestyle, and experience that are software-defined,” he said.

“This is firmly in our sights for our second-generation EVs.

“This software as a differentiator, plus a radically different cost structure and the ability to attract — attach value-added software and services, gives us confidence we can compete and win in unit, revenue, profit, and vehicle share while delivering appropriate returns.”

Next news story, Reborn Fisker delivers its first electric car.

Electric vehicle startup Fisker has delivered its first Ocean SUV almost six months after production began.

This handover of the Fisker Ocean One launch edition model took place at the Fisker Centre+ facility in Copenhagen, Denmark.

The car had 22-inch ‘AirGlider’ black alloy wheels, was finished in Great White exterior paint, and also had a Sea Salt interior with white Alcantara upholstery.

Dubbed as the “world’s most emotional and sustainable electric vehicle”, the Fisker Ocean was first unveiled in November 2021.

Production commenced in November 2022 by contract manufacturer Magna-Steyr at a carbon-neutral factory in Graz, Austria.

As previously reported, Fisker aims to produce a total of 42,400 units by the end of 2023. It says it already has 63,000 reservations.

The entire Fisker Ocean range has batteries that are provided by Chinese giant CATL.

Lithium iron phosphate batteries provide a range of up to 272 miles according to WLTP testing on the Ocean Sport, while nickel-manganese cobalt batteries provide 377 miles of WLTP range in the Ultra, and 438 miles in the Extreme and One.

The One uses a 113kWh battery.

The entry Sport features a single front-mounted electric motor producing 205kW of power, while the Ultra, Extreme, and One all have a dual-motor all-wheel drive system with 410kW.

Fisker claims the Ocean Extreme and Ocean One can do the 0-100 km/h sprint in 4.0 seconds. Flat out you’ll be doing 205km/h.

The Fisker Ocean measures in at 4774mm long, 1982mm wide, and up to 1654mm tall, with a 2921mm wheelbase. This makes it roughly the same size as the Mitsubishi Outlander.

The electric SUV is manufactured from more than 50kg of “recycled, biodegradable, and overall eco-conscious materials” and a completely vegan five-passenger interior made from recycled materials such as fishing nets, old t-shirts, and renewed rubber.

All models have a 17.1-inch rotating screen that can be put into landscape mode when parked for movie viewing or gaming, as well as over-the-air updates for continued software improvements.

Pricing in the UK opens with the Ocean Sport at £35,970, and extends to £60,880 for the Ocean Extreme and Ocean One.

The Fisker Ocean SUV will be the first model Fisker will launch in its latest iteration, with models including the entry-level Pear and Project Ronin four-door convertible in the pipeline.

Fisker has confirmed it will produce the Ocean in right-hand drive for the UK.

And finally, Half of fleets provide at-work chargers for electric vehicle drivers.

More than half (53%) of workplaces provide electric vehicle charging facilities and 52% contribute to the cost of at-home charging for their employees, new research suggests.

The study, from Europcar Mobility Group, also found that half (50%) of businesses provide Electric Vehicle drivers with company charging cards for charging in other locations.

However, out of those employers not currently providing charging facilities on-site, 88% believe this will “definitely” or “probably” change within the next three years.

Mark Newberry, commercial director and sustainability spokesperson at Europcar Mobility Group UK, said: “The businesses taking the initiative to install their own charging infrastructure should be applauded.”

But, he explains charging infrastructure is not the only barrier to Electric Vehicle adoption by businesses. “The well reported supply issues and lack of understanding about the total cost of ownership are other factors cited in our research, as well as the need to win the hearts and minds of the drivers themselves,” he added.

“Europcar clients often say that employees resist moving to Electric Vehicle because they believe it will impact their productivity and potentially even their earnings.

“This highlights a need for much more education and greater understanding around what is fit for purpose for drivers for the majority of time.”

However, even in the face of these hurdles, the Europcar study found that businesses are looking at sustainability targets directly related to mobility.

Nearly a third (29%) said their aim is to increase the use of alternative mobility solutions such as cycling and walking. This was closely followed by increasing the number of electric vehicles on fleet (28%) and an overall reduction in business travel (26%).

“The message from our research is the private sector understands loud and clear that sustainability is not a buzzword, it is a business benefit”, concluded Newberry.

“Fleet managers and business owners are looking closely at their operational behaviours and making considered changes that help cut costs and improve efficiency as well as reduce their impact on the environment.

“This is positive to see because for the UK to meet its carbon commitments we all need to lean into this change and really drive the transition towards carbon friendly mobility ”

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