TX4 taxi to get electric motor, and higher price
23 April 2008

After 50 years of diesel power, the venerable black cab is going green with an electric version that's due to go on sale in 2009.Black cab maker Manganese Bronze will work with British commercial electric vehicle maker Smith Electric Vehicles to develop the TX4E, which is said to have a range of 100 miles and top speed of 50mph. It will use lithium ion batteries and, claims Manganese Bronze, will cost around 4p per mile to run.However, it will be more expensive than a conventional TX4, which starts at around £28,000, which is likely to put some drivers off investing in the electric cab. A Manganese Bronze spokesman said the TX4E would probably be of interest "to a small group of drivers" unless there was a change in emissions legislation to include black cabs.A conventional TX4 is exempt from emissions-based charging such as London's congestion charge, despite the automatic model emitting more than the 225g/km limit above which drivers must pay £25 to enter central London.

Dan Stevens

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23 April 2008

Despite wanting an AC Cobra in my garage, alongside a Masserati (GT-S or QP, I'm easy) for practicality, I really am supportive of electric cars on environmental grounds. Not just fuel consumption, but noise and fumes too. I 'like' the Tesla for example, but it doesn't offer the practicality required for electric cars to 'beat' a Ford Focus in the eyes of many private buyers. I assume/hope it's a marketing exercise to get the Tesla name out there before offering a 'sensible' option. I'd love to see an all electric C/D sector car that can take four adults 80miles at 80mph, in pouring rain with the heater and windscreen wipers on full blast while playing a CD, and that recharges from a standards mains outlet in around an hour before accelerating off again hitting 60mph in 8secs.... all for under £20k. Oh it should look good too. Too much to ask?

23 April 2008

Electric vehicles are a great idea.. but not for a long while yet.

I doubt with a range of 100 miles there'll be any takers. I also doubt with a premium price and a top speed of 50mph (think of getting to Heathrow) most taxi drivers won't think its worth it as we're all 'conditioned' to pay more for either higher performance or batter fuel economy (diesels).

The Manganese Bronze claim of 4p a mile is also hard to button down. What Car shows most hatchbacks cost 4-6p a mile but that includes tax, insurance and depreciation. Does the electric include these costings?

23 April 2008

I beg to differ on that matter of electric vehicles being a long way off. At the Commercial Vehicles Show last week at the NEC, electric vehicles were everywhere!

Last year only two EV makers were there - market leader Smith Electric Vehicles, and Coventry-based Modec. Between them they have already sold and delivered several hundred all-electric vans and trucks ranging from Transit sized 3.5ton vans, to 12 ton delivery trucks. Bought by parcel delivery firms including TNT and DHL, as well as supermarkets Tesco and Sainsbury's. The vehicles are out there in daily use on the streets and highways.

LDV will be joinng them 12 weeks from now with an all-electric Maxus range of vans. All-electric versions of the Peugeot Boxer van range were also on sale at the show. Several smaller manufacturers of roadgoing commercial electric vehicles were also at the show.

Smith Electric Vehicles are about to announce the purchase of a new factory in north-east England, allowing them to triple production in order to meet demand, followed later this year by a new US factory to satisfy US interest.

Electric cars may be 2 or 3 years away from mass production, but in the commercial field things are taking off already. The hugely advantageous running costs and extremely low maintenance requirements are seen by fleet managers as outweighing the high purchase price. Especially where tax and congestion charge exemptions are involved.

23 April 2008

[quote JJBoxster]The Manganese Bronze claim of 4p a mile is also hard to button down. What Car shows most hatchbacks cost 4-6p a mile but that includes tax, insurance and depreciation. Does the electric include these costings?


4-6p a mile? I wish my small hatchback cost that little to run! Do the What Car figures include fuel costs? They surely can't do, 4p/mile on petrol is over 100mpg!

29 April 2008

[quote Autocar]the venerable black cab is going green with an electric version that's due to go on sale in 2009.[/quote] Great idea but I can't see it catching on whilst black cabs are exempt from the congestion charge - where's the incentive for a cabby to change ? This is yet another factor that makes the present and planned arrangements for Ken's congestion charge such an ill thought out and nonsensical scheme. Let's all hope that things will change after the 1st May.

Enjoying a Fabia VRs - affordable performance

29 April 2008

Bob and Niall - EV's don't have the benefit of volume yet so lets ignore the purchase price just for sake of a level playing field argument. Slap 300% tax on electricity. Now work out the running costs compared to any comparable commercial or private vehicle on petrol or diesel. It wouldn't compete.

Sorry my What Car figures were from memory! Including all costs (depreciation, insurance, taxes, servicing etc) and including petrol, cost per mile works out at 40-60p over 36,000 miles and 3 years for an Alfa 2.0ltr or Golf. Jaguar X-Type 3.0ltr about 80p per mile.

Even after paying all the extortinate Govt taxes that's cheap and I don't think an electric vehicle would compete factoring in all its costs and taking out all its tax-loophole subsidies. My local bus fare works out at about 50p a mile despite heavy subsidies. I know what I'd prefer to pay for the ability to move where I want, in comfort, stereo etc etc.

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