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Environmentally-Friendly Black Cabs Have Hit the Streets of London

Picture of Claire Lancaster
Tech & Entrepreneurship Editor
Updated: 31 October 2017
Hybrid electric versions of London’s iconic black cab have this month been released on the city’s streets.

The pilot test of six new vehicles comes ahead of forthcoming requirements that all new taxis on London roads be ‘zero emission capable’ as of January 2018.

The environmentally-friendly cars give drivers a range of over 70 miles on pure electric on their built-in battery pack, and can also go up to 400 miles using the onboard gas engine to generate the power for the battery and motor.

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The test fleet drivers ‘are real London cabbies who will help to collect vital information such as the emissions savings being made from LEVC’s eCity technology and the performance of London’s charge point infrastructure before delivering to customers and being available to fare paying passengers later in the year,’ said Chris Gubbey, CEO of the London Electric Vehicle Company (LEVC), the manufacturer of the hybrid vehicles.

‘We will now be able to accurately quantify the significant improvements these vehicles will make to London’s air quality, which will benefit all Londoners regardless of whether you use taxis or not,’ added Gubbey.

According to the LEVC, the new cabs have been put through ‘the most rigorous testing regime in the company’s history, including the extreme weather conditions in the Arctic and Death Valley‘.

New features include six seats, contactless card machines, onboard wi-fi, laptop and USB charging, a panoramic roof, and an aluminum body that is stronger and will better protect the passenger. The cabs will also be equipped with improved wheelchair accessibility, air-conditioning, phone charging and a more spacious cabin.

For more on the UK’s efforts to combat dangerous emissions and improve air quality, read about the proposal for ‘pollution tunnels’ over British motorways.