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London Taxi Cabs Going Electric

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【Summary】 The London Taxi Company – now the London Electric Vehicle Company – has been hard at work building a fleet of modern day electric taxis.

Mia Bevacqua    Aug 17, 2017 10:02 AM PT
London Taxi Cabs Going Electric

The first motor cabs in London were electric. Before that, they were driven by horsepower – literal horsepower. Horse-drawn handsome cabs filled the streets in the time of Queen Elizabeth I. Things haven't come completely full circle for the London Cab (no need to bring out the manure shovel yet), but they have begun to draw from the past. For 2018, all taxi cabs presented for license in London must be zero emissions. This means the London Taxi Company – now the London Electric Vehicle Company –  has been hard at work building a fleet of modern day electric taxis. 

Meeting new regulations

By January 2018, regulations will require that all cabs licensed in London have zero-emissions capability for at least 30 miles. Overall emissions must not exceed 50g/km. This is a tall order – fortunately, the London Electric Vehicle Company (LEVC) has substantial funds from parent company, Geely. The Chinese company also owns Volvo, which has existing EV technology LEVC can draw from.

Testing of the electron-powered cabs began in 2016. Mofid Elkemiri, director of quality for LEVC, explained that development has been difficult. The cabs are designed to withstand severe duty cycles while also meeting worldwide regulatory requirements – not an easy task. Finally, beyond the typical taxi design hurdles, LEVC faced the challenge of electrification. 

The result of countless design and test hours? The LEVC model TX. 

Introducing the electric London cab

First, let's be clear – the LEVC TX does have a gasoline generator onboard. The generator acts as a "range extender" to the battery-electric powertrain, much like the system in the Chevy Volt. The setup is said to give the TX a range of more than 400 miles, 70 miles of which are all-electric. CEO Chris Gubbey says this will provide taxi drivers with an average weekly savings of $129, compare to the outgoing diesel model.

What the future holds 

The first order for the LEVC TX has already rolled in – and it's not even from the Brits. A company called RMC, located in the Netherlands, has put in their bid for 225 TX cabs. The cars are scheduled for delivery in 2018. 

Transport for London, a local government body, forecasts 9,000 EV taxi cabs by the end of 2020. 

So, the next time you're in Trafalgar Square hailing a cab, take a look, it may be electric. 

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