The new British-made Metrocab electric black cab has started testing on the roads of the capital after being licensed to operate as a Hackney Carriage on a trial basis.
Transport for London says it is the first taxi capable of zero emissions and that "the first few" are already carrying fare-paying passengers in London. Autocar had an exclusive drive in the Metrocab prototype last year.
The six-passenger Metrocab is built by Frazer-Nash Research and Ecotive and is a range-extender electric vehicle, much like the New Bus for London. It is directly powered by two 50kW electric motors – which also offer a maximum 1032lb ft of torque - and a 12.2kW battery pack.
Back-up power is provided by a 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol engine driving a generator, and the battery pack can also be recharged via a mains electrical socket.
The Metrocab is claimed to return 98mpg and less than 50g/km of CO2, making it "more than three times as economical as the comparable current London taxi". The company claims that lower running costs could add up to £20-£40 per day for London cabbies.