How an icon of London heritage is transitioning its production towards a greener future.
In light of the rapidly growing demand for electric vehicles (EVs) across the globe, considerable pressures have been placed on the traditional automotive supply chain. This has driven providers to find new ways of working and ramp up their efforts to meet the changing needs of their customers – a trend that was brought into sharp focus when fastener supplier TR Fastenings was approached by the London EV Company (LEVC) with a time-critical problem.
LEVC is part of the Geely Holding Group and is currently embarking on a challenging but ambitious journey with its innovative electric TX taxi. One of the world’s most instantly recognisable vehicle, the trusted London black taxi cab is undergoing a transformation towards zero carbon mobility. To ensure this transition, LEVC needed to operate in a just-in-time environment, requiring a reliable automotive components provider that was able to supply a consistent and seamless service. When that was suddenly no longer possible, LEVC has to find a new provider that could step in and help keep production moving. The company needed to enhance and secure its supply chain, embrace operational changes and focus on technical and engineering support coupled with a robust logistics service.
Over the course of an intense transition period, TR Fastenings and LEVC reviewed all of these requirements one by one, from the rationalisation of the number of parts and the types of fasteners to eliminating bespoke special parts where feasible. TR was selected as LEVC’s new supplier due to its years of experience in designing and manufacturing fasteners for automotive applications. The company also supplies other firms within the Geely Holding Group, including Proton in Malaysia, Lotus cars in the UK and the major Tier 1’s supplying into Volvo.
TR’s design and engineering teams conducted an internal review to understand LEVC’s exact needs, while projects teams from TR and LEVC were assigned to work together. TR was quickly able to establish a stable full-service provision for LEVC, which was especially important for a new product launch. The company now provides some 350 components used in the vehicles, and to the Tier 1’s that supply the drivetrain, brakes, lighting clusters, car seats, IP console and battery pack.
“This was a challenging project where time was a critical factor,” says Dan Pereira, Engineering Manager UK and Ireland at TR Fastenings. “We needed to act fast to understand the customer’s exact needs and put in place a system that worked. Thankfully, we understand the pressures automotive manufacturers are under and this project was a great example of how TR Fastenings can step up to any situation, working with the client to be that safe pair of hands they need. It showcases our commitment to fulfilling the needs of our customers, no matter the size or complexity of operation.”
ENSURING SMOOTH SYSTEMS
LEVC needed support quickly to meet demand, and TR was able to step in, providing additional on-site customer support. The company set about reviewing stock quantities to understand any gaps in the system, it established working relationships, collaborated with the engineers on the ground to understand their needs and ensure a seamless transition. As the supplier, TR shared data sheets with engineers and purchasing, agreeing specifications, and this sped up the process of producing product and gaining PPAP approvals. Additionally, TR was asked to manage other bespoke parts on LEVC’s behalf and these too were added to the bill of materials. The supply of critical stock was resumed, and production suffered no disruption.
To celebrate a successful transition, TR showcased the electric TX taxi on its stand at Automechanika Birmingham, with much interest shown by attendees across the three-day event.
“The TX was a great talking point which opened up conversations about our capabilities and vast product range,” concludes Sven Brehler, Global Director of Engineering at TR Fastenings. “As the EV market continues to expand, TR is well placed to lead on fastening solutions for this sector.”