The Metrocab, with Mayor Boris Johnson at the wheel

London to Test Electric Cabs

2 minutes read

Clean emissions vehicle to be tried out this year

A new vehicle is to be trialled on London’s polluted and noisy roads: an electric black cab, which will be silent and reduce CO2 and other hydrocarbons like those emitted by conventional taxis. The cab, called the Range Extended Electric Metrocab, is designed and built in Britain. Its main powerplant is an electric motor, but it also has a backup petrol engine, which can recharge the batteries if they are running low, so it can go much further than with an electric engine on its own – a criticism which has been made of some Electric Vehicles (EVs).

Cabbies will like the low running costs, a fraction of the amount needed to fill up a diesel or petrol vehicle. It can be charged at home using a conventional 3-pin plug or by using the charging points which are now springing up around the capital.

Mayor Boris Johnson had a sneak trial drive of the cab just before Christmas. A proper road-test, to see that the vehicle can perform successfully on London streets and meet the strict requirements for Hackney Carriages, including the 25-ft turning circle, will take place later this year.

The cab is made by Ecotive and Frazer-Nash Research, based in Surrey. It will retail at the same price as a conventional cab, so it will be interesting to see if this helps it to supplant ordinary taxis.

A Metrocab offical said, “The vehicle represents a revolution in the market as the first electric-powered cab to meet the duty cycle of a London taxi, where cabbies typically drive many miles outside the city – making pure electric cars impractical with current technology and infrastructure.”

Reportedly, the Mayor was pleased with the cab’s handling abilities. The EV has seating for six, increased luggage space over other similar vehicles, and full disabled access.

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