Black cabs go green as new EVs launch in 2018
There are few more quintessentially British sights on our streets than a traditional black cab, and the sound of the diesel engine that has powered them for decades.
However that is about to change forever as a new generation of electric taxi cabs are rolled out across the country, and from January 1, 2018, all new registered black cabs in London will have to be battery powered electric models.
The changes are all part of Government plans to cut emissions by targeting those vehicles that run on diesel that are causing the most pollution, such as taxis, buses and older commercial vehicles.
What about the charging infrastructure?
As part of London’s own strategy to clean up the capital’s air quality Transport for London, the body responsible for the city’s transport networks, is investing £18million on upgrading the power grids to charge the first generation of battery-powered black cabs.
The network reinforcements will enable British Gas owner Centrica, and other energy companies, to install around 300 rapid electric-car charging stations by 2020.
New hybrid and all-electric options
At the same time, the London Electric Vehicle Company (LEVC), based in Coventry, is taking orders for its new hybrid model TX, which will be on the market before the end of the year.
The LEVC (owned by Chinese manufacturer Geely) invested millions in a new factory in order to build the new models in Coventry.
The TX will retain the iconic shape of the traditional black cab, but instead of the sound and smell of the diesel engine, the all new electric TX is based on eCity technology.
Isn't range an issue?
It runs on a battery electric power train with range extender providing more than 400 miles range between charges, including well in excess of 70 miles with zero emissions.
The LEVC estimates cabbies operating the new model will save up to £100 a week on fuel costs, improving their overall business running costs.
RAC Business has recently renewed its roadside assistance contract with the LEVC.
Roger Williams, spokesman for RAC Business, said:
“This is a pivotal moment in terms of all things motoring, as companies like LEVC look at ways to reduce emissions while at the same time produce vehicles which can live up to the demands of a busy city cab driver.
“Over the next few years we will see more and more electric vehicles being adopted by businesses as manufacturers address issues such as range anxiety and we hope and expect the infrastructure to be in place to support that increase.
“Here at the RAC we have developed our own EV charging unit to carry on our network vans, so we’re doing all we can to be ready for the changes that are coming, we are and proud to be working with LEVC as they help shape the future of zero emission motoring in the UK.”