This follows a £9.6m investment supported by the Welsh Government which will create more than 130 jobs over the next five years after it put £550,000 into the project to bring the work to Wales.
First Minister Carwyn Jones met senior officials from the Sapa group during his visit to Norway in January and pressed the business case for bringing the investment to Wales.
The Bedwas site was mothballed in 2014 following significant changes in market conditions but was retained by Sapa. The opportunity to re-open the facility occurred when Sapa Components UK, which supplies all the major vehicle manufacturers including Aston Martin and Volkswagen with aluminium based sub-assemblies and components, secured contracts to supply the new London cab.
Sapa has been working with the London Electrical Vehicle Company (LEVC) since 2015 and significantly invested in researching and developing lightweight aluminium prototypes and components for the new vehicle. It will supply components which will be bonded together to reduce weight while increasing rigidity, so giving a longer range and a better ride to passengers.
Economy and Infrastructure Secretary Ken Skates (right) will visit the plant this afternoon and said, “Wales has a growing reputation for supporting innovative new technologies and opportunities and the Low Carbon Vehicle sector is a particular growth area and a key sub sector for our advanced materials and manufacturing industry.”
|He added, “I am delighted that SAPA is reopening its operation in Bedwas and proud that Wales will be playing a key role in the production of a new generation of environmentally friendly black cabs.”|
Calvin Carpenter, MD Sapa Component UK, said, “This is a proud day as it is a culmination of nearly 3 years working with London Taxi throughout its development phases to enable us to supply major body components to the ‘new state of the art’ facility in Ansty, Coventry.”
TX will replace the familiar diesel-powered black cab with a model that utilises a plug-in hybrid powertrain and small petrol fuelled generator, but which retains the familiar profile of the Black Cab but can take six passengers and offer full wheelchair access, has wi-fi and a loop system for assisting hearing aids.
|The all-new electric zero-emissions-capable TX showcases its eCity technology for the first time.|
Applied to the TX, the technology allows for a range of over 400 miles including well over 70 miles range with zero emissions for inner city operations where noise and air pollution is most acute.
LEVC has invested more than £300m in the new Ansty site near Coventry and the next-generation London taxi, which will be produced at the plant and exported around the world from this autumn.
The investment and expansion of LEVC has created more than 1,000 new jobs, including 200 engineers and 30 apprenticeships. The site has the capacity to build more than 20,000 vehicles per year, starting with the TX for UK and export, and future plans include a light commercial vehicle for urban deliveries.