The iconic London black cab is known worldwide. Here is its all-new successor that ditches diesel in favour of electric.
The London Taxi Company’s (LTC) range-extended Electric Black Cab is currently being driven in the desert heat of Arizona in the US to prove it can cope with a London summer. Or a much hotter Dubai one.
We use Dubai as an example because the test is designed to show the new Electric Black Cab can work in extreme heat and extreme cold, making it suitable for more than just the capital of the UK.
The London Taxi Company claimed the Electric Black Cab managed 300 miles of motoring in a single day in Arizona, which it points out is the equivalent of 20 trips from Heathrow to central London ─ triple the average cabbie drives in a day.
Running the atmospheric controls at full tilt has been a key part of the process and one said to highlight the fact that the extra strain on the battery has only a modest effect on the overall range.
Besides being as clean as a vehicle can be at a local level, thanks to emitting zero emissions, passengers can enjoy a panoramic roof and a near-silent cabin. Unless the cabbie talks to you for the entire journey.
“Testing in these extremes provides us with a huge amount of data, helping us to understand how the performance of the batteries changes at high temperatures, and how can get the most charge out of them,” said LTC head of quality, Dr Wolfram Liedtke.
“In the next few weeks, our equipment testing will also take us to extremely humid environments, as well as some more mountainous terrain. This is all preparation for one of the most challenging environments for vehicles – everyday use on the streets of London,” he added.
The plan now is to test the Electric Black Cab in London during the summer. If all goes to plan – and it should do if the level of testing is anything to go by – sales will begin in the final quarter of 2017. A price is yet to be confirmed.
Pushing towards electric cars not only reduces the pressure on fossil fuels, it could help make London healthier as it is believed 40,000 Brits die prematurely every year because of air pollution. Diesel engines are particularly harmful to the environment.
To aid the transition towards an electric taxi, Transport for London (TfL) has said it will spend £18 million upgrading the capital’s power grids to pave the way for 300 rapid charging points by 2020 – 75 of which will arrive before 2017 is out.
“An extensive, rapid charging network is fundamental in helping drivers make the shift from fossil fuels to electric,” commented TfL director of surface strategy and planning, Ben Plowden.
Fast-chargers are vital because they can top-up a significant portion of an electric car’s range in a considerably shorter time than a typical charger.
It is currently unclear how much it will cost to use them, but TfL has promised a price cap for the first two years and current charging solutions are significantly cheaper for a full recharge than a full tank of diesel or petrol.
From the 1st of January, 2018, all new black cabs will have to be electric as part of TfL’s effort to reduce the toxic pollution caused by diesel engines so you should probably get used to seeing them around. Albeit without any concept camouflage.