LTC’s next model will be a range-extended electric vehicle; latest pictures show it's into the latter stage of development as hot weather testing nears completion

The London Taxi Company (LTC) will launch its new range-extender electric cab in the final quarter of this year, ahead of Transport For London (TFL) legislation that all new cabs must be ‘zero-emission capable’ range of at least 30 miles.

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The company has released images of the model undergoing hot weather testing in the Arizona desert, which, LTC claims, has tested the strain on the batteries caused by the hot conditions. Journeys of around 300 miles - three times the average daily mileage of a London cab - were completed.

Next on the testing schedule for the new cab are humid conditions and mountainous regions; these will test the engine and batteries' performance with different air properties, like the thin air associated with higher altitudes. Previously, pictures were released of the taxi winter testing inside the Arctic Circle, signaling that it's now entered its final stages of development. The electric taxi is LTC's most comprehensively tested model to date.

LTC quality director Wolfram Liedtke said: "Our new taxi is being developed with two key engineering principles – quality and endurance – to meet the needs of the demanding taxi duty cycle. We are now nearing the end of our development programme and will soon commit the product to series production at our all-new manufacturing facility in Ansty, near Coventry.”

The new cab will adopt a range-extended electric set-up much like those of the Vauxhall Ampera and BMW i3 Range Extender. The news follows Autocar’s story of a range-extended delivery van, which will be built alongside the new taxi model.

TFL will introduce the ‘zero-emission capable’ legislation on 1 January 2018. Production of the new electric taxi will begin once work has finished on LTC’s new purpose-built plant in Coventry later this year. LTC is due to open its new facility on 22 March following a £300 million investment by parent company Geely.

LTC is keeping quiet about the finer details of the EV taxi, saying only that the range "exceeds requirements comfortably". A final figure will be determined when testing concludes.

LTC CEO Peter Johansen said last year that one fill-up per day would be needed for the range-extending petrol generator. “A taxi driver will do 150-200 miles in a day, so the idea is the driver will top-up once during the day and travel the whole day on electric power.”

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Johansen also clarified the necessity for a range-extender rather than a traditional battery EV, citing recharging times and the lack of a fast-charge infrastructure as contributory factors for the traditional battery EV’s incompatibility with taxi use. He also revealed that since Geely, which also owns Volvo, acquired the London Taxi Company in 2013, Geely chairman Li Shufu's aim has been to build an electrified taxi.

Johansen also noted that the current investment in infrastructure isn’t enough to cope with demand, although London has been rapidly increasing the number of fast chargers in the city in recent months.

Johansen believes the new powertrain would go down well with London cabbies. “The cabbies are very very enthusiastic,” he said. "I talk to a number of them regularly and they can’t wait to have a new cab to take the green initiative."

Like it or not, cabbies will have no choice but to adopt the range-extender LTC model once the TFL legislation takes place at the beginning of 2018. 

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Comments
8

6 May 2016
It is all very well for TFL/UK Government/EU to start demanding Zero-emission capable vehicles in London but without proper infrastructure investment in charging points, fast chargers etc the burden on the driver/taxi driver is unfair. Logically Taxis are an ideal subject for electrification because most taxi journeys are relatively short, taxi ranks could have charging points so that when the drivers are waiting for fares they can top up their vehicle's batteries. Unfortunately as is usually the case the UK Government and Local Authorities pay lip service to idea of zero-emissions vehicles but take no steps to encourage their use. Instead they effectively pass the cost of government policy and international eco-lobby plans onto the citizens.

7 May 2016
It might have been good to mention the New Metrocab, the other range-extender electric taxi.

12 May 2016
Agreed. This is the Metrocab, test driven by Kryten (Robert Llewellyn):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gzWWgw-3WYs

7 May 2016
The range needed for a taxi isn't too big a requirement and it can be a bespoke design to accommodate a big battery, unhindered by the need to look conventional or 'handle' like a sports car. The big issue in the UK is time, low(ish) mileage but a lot of time in use so heating will be a problem, driver or passengers won't want to sit in a cold (or hot) car and a full day with 3 to 4kW of drain running will eat capacity badly.

20 September 2016
Providing taxi services in Cirencester to all other major areas in Luton, Manchester, Birmingham, Stansted or London with quality rides and expert drivers who look forward to your satisfaction. Cirencester Taxi.

What if you don’t get a taxi in time or on a casual budget to travel within the Cirencester or outside of it, we always open with space between seller and buyer you can get special discounts on long trips. Professionals are fully obliged to your expectations.Taxi from Kemble Station to Tetbury. Want to book a taxi to Paddington station or to Kemble station that’s what we are here for, we serve back to back on major stations like Paddington or Kemble also offer the long journeys in reasonable prices so you won’t change your plans just that you don’t have the right budget for it, put the requests for discounts if you have some we are open to demands and to fulfill it we can only say that it’s on expectations.

13 March 2017
What about the other 'cabs' in London? Will UBER drivers, chauffeurs and minicabs need to be 'Zero emission capable' too? It seems to me that TFL is doing everything they can to drive the 'proper' London cabbie out of business. I agree with the principal of reducing pollutions from public transport etc in major cities, but you cant just target the black cabs. These guys already have far more to contend with than any other private hire drivers (public Carriage Office inspections, regular checks, etc etc) without forcing them to buy/rent massively expensive vehicles just to please the Mayor (who's probably an Uber shareholder lol)

1 June 2017
Given that 90% of UBER's are Prius's and pretty modern one's at that, they'll be putting out a hell of a lot less local emissions than the black cabs. The black cabs should definitely be targeted as they're the worst offenders by a long way, especially when there is 50 odd of them just sitting in a queue for Paddington station with their engines running for no reason.

29 June 2017
Strange to not see a new vehicle not tested flat out around the Nurburgring, as I thought that was compulsory these days :-)

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