New Cars

London’s new electric black cab is ready to hit the streets complete with charging points and Wi-Fi

Built by London’s EV Company, the new TX has been trialled in extreme weather conditions in the Arctic Circle and Arizona

London’s all-new electric TX taxi has succesfully passed a series of rigorous tests and is now ready to start carrying passengers around the capital.

Built by London’s EV Company, the new TX has been trialled in extreme weather conditions in the Arctic Circle and Arizona, and has been driven for thousands of miles by cab drivers around London. It will launch in time for Transport for London’s January 2018 zero-emission deadline.

All LEVC vehicles use eCity technology which consists of an advanced battery electric powertrain with a small back-up petrol generator. In the all-new electric TX, the technology gives a range of up to 400 miles including 80 miles pure electric range.

London’s new electric black cab

Unlike the previous taxi, the vehicle’s multi-filter system helps remove gases and particles from the incoming air while an in-built air quality sensor automatically closes the external air intake if it detects increased levels of pollution.

Elsewhere, the electric black cabs come with wheelchair accessibility, air conditioning, phone charging and a more spacious cabin with six seats, plus forward collision warnings, autonomous emergency breaking and emergency brake assistance.

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It was recently announced that the TX’s aluminium body is being manufactured at a plant in Wales that had previously shut down due to a lack of demand.

Norwegian company Sapa will provide lightweight aluminium from the factory in Bedwas, near Caerphilly, and the project will bring 130 jobs to the area. The idea is to use the aluminium to build lighter electric taxis by the end of this year.

Sapa will work with the London Taxi Company, a subsidiary of Chinese company Geely, to produce the next generation of iconic London vehicles.

Geely opened a factory in Coventry in March this year, after it announced in 2015 it will be helping London’s black cabs to go green with a vehicle called the TX. Its goal is to produce 10,000 vehicles a year, both for the UK and overseas, although it has the capacity for 20,000.

Using aluminium means the cars can be up to 50% lighter compared to steel, which helps make them more efficient.

The aluminium factory in Bedwas was closed in 2014 because it didn’t have enough demand to meet its production capacity. It will cost £9.6 million ($13 million) to reopen, but the demand for electric vehicles is enough to drive this change, according to Sapa.

“This was the first plant we had to sacrifice, but it is also the first one to be reopened,” John Thuestad, Sapa’s head of extrusions for Europe, told Reuters. “The auto sector is only 15% of our (global) business, but it is currently driving the majority of our growth.”

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“Our plant is geared up to support the booming automotive industry in the UK and we see the trend absolutely continuing towards aluminium as a solution for their lightweighting challenges,” added Barnaby Struthers, Sapa’s business development manager in Britain.

By next year, London’s cabs will join the growing trend towards electric and hybrid vehicles, as all new cabs will have to have zero-emission capabilities.

Electric vehicles such as the Tesla Model S now represent viable choices for those in the car market. Under the government’s plans to improve air quality across the UK, the sale of petrol and diesel cars could be banned by 2040.