Zero emission-capable black cabs could soon be coming to London’s streets after the London EV Company (LEVC) received certification for its TX eCity range-extended cab to carry fare-paying passengers in the city.
LEVC – formerly the London Taxi Company – has developed the latest generation of the iconic black London taxi in response to concerns about air pollution in cities as a replacement to diesel and petrol-only versions of the vehicle.
Formally launched at an opening ceremony at Battersea Power Station this morning (5 December) the new model is powered by a battery electric powertrain with a 1.3 litre petrol engine, made by Volvo. The technology allows for a range of over 400 miles including over 70 miles range with zero emissions.
After testing in Arizona the TX eCity is now fully certified to carry fare-paying passengers in London, ahead of the January 2018 requirement for new taxis registered in the capital to be capable of at least 30 miles of zero emission travel.
LEVC believes the taxi will ‘play a major role’ in helping to improve air quality in the capital, and has reported that it has received thousands expressions of interest in London for the new electric TX since order books opened in August.
Chris Gubbey, chief executive of LEVC, said: “After extensive testing, LEVC’s new taxi is ready to do the job it was made for: transport people around this great city of London safely, cleanly and stylishly. Better for passengers, more cost effective for drivers, it will play a major role in helping to improve air quality benefiting all Londoners.”
The cost of a new electric model is around £55,599 – which is higher than the typical cost of a new petrol or diesel taxi – although the vehicle is eligible for some financial incentives to reduce the cost of purchase. LEVC also claims that drivers will benefit from savings in fuel costs if they switch to the new model.
Development of rapid charging infrastructure is likely to be key to the take-up of the electric-enabled model, with only a handful of charging points currently capable of filling the taxi’s battery in a short timeframe.
Commenting this morning, general secretary of the Licensed Taxi Drivers Association, Steve McNamara, said: “The taxi trade welcomes the arrival of this ultra clean 21st century vehicle. We recognise the serious issues around air quality in London and look forward to doing our bit to help clean London’s air, by offering emission free personal transport to Londoners and visitors alike.”
Launch of the taxi has also been welcomed by City Hall. Commenting today, Shirley Rodrigues, London’s deputy mayor for environment and energy, said: “These new electric taxis are at the forefront of green transport technology and will play a transformational role in the Mayor’s plan to phase out diesel and clean up the transport network. This will help to accelerate improvements to London’s toxic air.
“It’s great to have the first electric taxis on London’s streets and a testament to London’s leadership and that of LEVC. I look forward to seeing many more taxis on London’s street in the coming months.”
LEVC is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Chinese carmaker Geely, which also owns Volvo and has produced previous generations of the iconic London taxi, under the name London Taxi Company.
The new model is being produced at the company’s £300 million manufacturing facility at Ansty near Coventry, which opened in March, and will have the capability to produce more than 20,000 vehicles per year, when operating at full capacity.
Other features of the vehicle include six passenger seats, forward facing wheelchair access, power sockets for laptops, USB ports, on-board wifi, an expansive panoramic roof and active & passive safety systems.
The vehicle’s multi-filter system also works to remove gases and particles from the incoming air, while an in-built air quality sensor automatically closes the external air intake if it detects increased levels of pollution in the outside air.
LEVC – TX eCity