The British capital’s iconic taxis ditch diesel to help cut pollution in the city. A new generation of electric cars has hit the road.
The TX eCity may look just like the iconic London taxi, but this is actually an all-new model. “You can see very clearly this is a London black cab. However, everything is new. The vehicle is totally new from the ground up and it’s a much better experience both for the cabbie and the passengers. It [has an] all-aluminium body and electric engine with range extender. But most importantly, it’s bringing clean air to London”, says Chris Gubbey, chief executive of the London Electric Vehicle Company (LEVC).
The now Chinese-owned car manufacturer has provided “the city” with its taxicabs since 1948. It was cautious to keep the well-loved historic black cab shape, but the TX model marginally bigger, allowing a sixth passenger inside. It has also been brought up to date with USB chargers, a plug socket and a contactless payment card reader in the back. It will even have wifi – making it one of the, if not the world’s most advanced taxi.
Gubbey hopes to have up to 150 of the TX eCity cabs on the capital’s streets by New Year’s Eve. In addition, only “zero emissions capable vehicles” will be licensed from January, effectively banning new diesel cabs from the capital. Given the context of growing concerns about air quality, the new Transport for London (TfL) rules will implement a 15 years age limit for cabs will be enforced, banning de facto any diesel cab by 2032.
The new cabs can travel about 80 miles on a single battery charge. With the assistance of a 1.5 litre petrol range extender, they can go for up to 400 miles. Also, a 60 per cent recharge of the batteries – 45 minutes – is enough to drive for 50 miles. The engine is used as a generator allowing the taxi to run with low emissions at all times. LEVC says the electric taxi will save drivers around £100 a week on fuel costs. Only downside, the TX eCity costs £55,599 compared to £45,000 for the last diesel TX4s.
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