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FULL ARTICLE | EDITORIAL 
London’s imminent E-Taxi move 
Peter Schmidt | Editor

Published: Fri, 02nd June 2017 12:47:07 GMT
 

London Taxi Company Geely E-Taxi production Coventry 2017


Open quote signEveryone, including automakers and possibly even Donald Trump, agrees that air quality in most mega-cities must be improved. Given that traffic plays a significant part in this, it’s certainly not rocket science to conclude that public transport, as a first step of transformation, should make the first move to Ultra-low or better still, Zero vehicle emissions. 

Much of today’s green car technology, as distinct from a no doubt vastly improved future version, is already tailor-made for inner-city use. 

That’s because of short distance journeys, countless stop-start sections and at best slow progress. It is here where traditional hybrids such as Toyota’s trailblazing Prius really came into their own. 

Not so convincing out in the country or on motorways, but first rate nevertheless in slow moving traffic. 

However, since then a lot has happened.

"3,600 Toyota hybrids currently operate as taxis in Germany"

Today’s battery electric cars, if built principally for taxi use in cities, will, apart from price, beat Prius type hybrids hands-down. 

Toyota Germany told AID that some 3,600 Toyota hybrids currently operate as taxis in Germany.

For a starter, given some modest infrastructure investment into fast-charging-facilities, for vehicles operating principally in the inner city, range anxiety is no issue. 

A London taxi, it is understood, only travels on average up to 120 miles a day. 

Taxis travelling round the clock in big cities are ideally suited for the switch to electric power. 

The countless taxi ranks, strategically placed around the city can offer convenient fast recharging. 

News that from January next year all new London taxis have to be capable of driving purely on electric power, surely kicks off a new era. 

The move makes sense in every way. It’s certain to spread as quickly and unopposed from city to city as Europe’s sudden smoking ban in restaurants, public bars and public places. 

24,000 black-cab taxis in London

In London alone some 24,000 black-cab taxis are said to be registered today so the e-Taxi market is significant. 

One wonders why Daimler’s Mercedes, which made much of Europe’s taxi market its own, wasn’t first to get this E-taxi ball rolling. 

Who knows, likelihood is that Mercedes engineers are already burning the midnight oil to get their E-powered E-Class taxi into volume production. 

As it turns out, the archetypal London taxi, known here in the UK as the purpose-designed ‘London black cab’ will be among the first to make the move. 

Built by a Geely subsidiary in the UK and powered chiefly by an electric motor backed up by a small petrol engine to extend the range when the spark runs out, it goes on sale later this year.

The novel idea of a spacious, purpose designed taxi, a state-of-the-art battery-powered electric motor and a strategically placed network of ultra-fast super-chargers, add up to a classical marriage in heaven. 

Before long, most taxis in the western metropolitan world will be electric. 

Add to that the inevitable next step, electric vans and light trucks engineered for city use, combined with the inevitable future ban for all non-electric vehicles in tomorrow’s inner cities, could eventually make city air breathable once again. 

With the clock ticking for the traditional diesel-fuelled inner city taxi, or for petrol-fuelled taxis in China or elsewhere, anyone working on the development of a purpose-designed E-Taxi, flanked in parallel by concrete plans to set up strategically placed networks of fast chargers can look forward with a smile
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