The Green Cab Tackling Pollution Head On
In London, England a quiet, smooth, electrically driven revolution is slowly taking over the streets of London and there are a number of firms in the race to dominate London’s next iteration of the world famous… Green Cab, sorry Black Cab!
Yes London’s iconic Hackney Carriage is undergoing a massive makeover.
In the red corner, the London Electric Vehicle Company (LEVC), previously known has the London Taxi Company, has been in operation since 1948, bought by Chinese firm, Geely in 2013.. And in the blue corner, the smaller company Metrocab, has also produced its on electric version
But companies rivalries aside for just a moment, the impact of this shift cannot be understated. And the commercial benefit is potentially huge. Because diesel chugging, London black cabs have traditionally been one of the most polluting vehicles on the road and now political and public pressure are forcing business to adapt to new electrically powered green cabs. Quickly.
So this represents a massive shift away from the diesel, hungry, polluting blacks to a cleaner greener mode of transport and one that has been legally required in London since January 2018, where it has been politically mandated that all new black cabs should be manufactured to be zero emission capable.
And it makes commercial sense too. Europe now has more than 200 low emission zones that levy hefty charges on polluting vehicles, or ban them altogether. With regulations on polluting vehicles growing and concerns about climate change, companies producing electric vehicles are positioning themselves well for a coming boom in sales.
So what is it about the new LEVC electric black cab that sets it apart from the competition and just why is this cab so green?
Well not only did the company have to create a new vehicle that was distinctive enough and separate enough from its previous incarnations; it also had to produce a taxi that would comply with a list of 23 detailed regulations set by Transport for London and known as the Conditions of Fitness. These set the standards for black cabs operating in London and cover everything from the fixtures to the fittings as well as the measurements and design aspects of the taxi.
This is all routed in the history of the London black cab and including requirements such as a taxi cab being high enough in height to accomodate a man wearing a bowler hat, and to have a turning circle of 25 feet to ensure that the taxi could drop off and collect at London’s famous Savoy Hotel at its circular roundabout entrance. And more importantly the doorways must be wide enough to allow full wheelchair access.
But at the core of this revolution was the need for the new taxis to be green cabs. Transport for London has mandated, by adding to the above conditions of fitness, a requirement that all new black cabs must be able to travel 30 miles, without releasing any emissions whatsoever. Any onboard motors (i.e. to recharge the vehicles battery) but be able to provide power without emitting any more than 50 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometre.
And it has been important for this quiet, electric revolution to provide an aesthetic that would appeal to customers, set the new taxi apart but pay respect to its heritage and original design.
On the outside it’s a little boxier than its diesel chugging predecessor, but it makes up for this with sleek lines and a smoother ride. The batteries are positioned under the floor and rear passenger seat, which means there is no separate space for luggage but rarely do passengers use a taxi trunk to store their luggage.
What sets this green cab really apart is the huge, panoramic, glass screened roof, providing a upwards view of the streets of London. For those who need to get on with more mundane matters, LEVC’s new vehicle comes with charging sockets for laptops, USB ports for mobiles and other devices, and most blissfully of all… a ride of total silence.
Who would have thought, in the jostling streets of London, you could get a moments peace and quiet in the back of a green cab!?