London black cabs begin journey towards battery power

October 28, 2015 // By Paul Buckley
Transport for London (TfL) has declared that London's world reknowned black taxi cabs will no longer use diesel and must be capable of running on an electric battery from January 2018.

The introduction of the new rules only apply to taxis being licensed for the first time and is part of TfL’s plan to clean up London’s air with an 'ultra-low emission zone' in central London, to be introduced in 2020.

London cabbies renewing their licences will be allowed to keep diesel models until they are decommissioned.

Extra cash is being made available to encourage cabbies to trade in their old cabs sooner rather than later.

London's Mayor Boris Johnson declared: “The taxi and minicab trades have a crucial role to play in helping to improve London’s air quality. This is why we have made them a central part of our ultra-low emission zone plans. We understand this will take time and that is why we are giving financial assistance to help clean up these vehicle fleets.  The ultra-low emission zone is the most ambitious measure of its kind in the world and we need everyone on board for it to be a success.”

Private hire cars licensed for the first time in 2018 must be hybrids or have Euro 6 standard engines, but not until 2020 must all new private hire cabs be capable of running solely on battery power.

Last week The London Taxi Company’s hybrid TX5 cab, which was built to comply with the new ULEZ rules, was unveiled during Chinese President Xi Jinping’s state visit to the UK.

The hybrid vehicle has a battery which is recharged by the petrol engine when it runs low.  The TX5 benefits from a range extended battery electric vehicle system which claims to ensure no range anxiety and offering the reliability required by London’s Black Cab drivers.

The hybrid vehicle was designed at Zhejiang Geely Holding Group’s design centre in Barcelona, Spain.  The design team was led by British designers Peter Horbury and David Ancona and supported by a 200-strong team of engineers and designers based in the UK.  Before joining Geely, Horbury was Chief Designer at Volvo Car Corporation and prior to that he was head of design at Ford in Detroit, USA.