This week saw the launch of a new Air Quality Manifesto from the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, at Mansion House.
The new manifesto set a high bar; ambitiously proposing to meet EU limits for nitrogen oxide by 2020, instead of the governments previous estimations of 2030. Mr Johnson also called on the UK government and the European commission to match the Capital’s drive to tackle CO2 emissions and air pollution.
In addition to the £10 diesel levy London drivers will face in designated Ultra Low Emission Zones, Mr Johnson is encouraging the switch from dirty diesel London taxi’s to electrically powered Metrocabs.
London Mayor Boris Johnson said, “In our Ultra Low Emissions Zones (ULEZ) all taxis are to be zero-emissions capable, which means drivers must switch over to electric drive when in the ULEZ. The aim is to have 7,000 zero-emissions-capable taxis on the streets of London by 2020, and now is the time to move forward with these remarkable technological developments I have seen outside.”
The taxi cabs themselves are extended range electric vehicles (REEVs), which means that they are driven by an electric motor at all times, yet, have back-up from a 1 litre petrol engine that can charge the battery if needs be.
The estimated range of the cab is 320 miles with the use of the range extender and 40 miles in pure electric mode.
In electric mode the Metrocab is zero-emissions and with the range extender engaged it ups to 50g/km of CO2, a massive improvement on the dismal 233 g/km of CO2 achieved by a 2.5l diesel TX4.
Frazer-Nash, who developed and engineered the electric Metrocab in the UK, claims the biggest draw for London cabbies is the potential financial savings. They estimate that London taxi drivers will save £20-£40 per day based on the average day and night duty cycle in the capital, and close to £10,000 annually. What’s more Frazer-Nash insist the taxi will be priced competitively and hold no price premium.
The Mayor went onto comment on the zero-emission capable Metrocab, saying, “It’s superb, an absolutely beautiful machine and a masterpiece of British engineering. Totally silent, it’s the Rolls Royce of taxis and can do 100mpg.”
Also showcased by Frazer-Nash at the Air Quality reception at Mansion House was a revolutionary new Solar Charging Station model, demonstrating the company’s Concentrated PhotoVoltaic Technology, which converts light energy into electrical energy for charging the Metrocab lithium-ion polymer battery pack. The company is trialling a full-size system at its Surrey headquarters and intends to roll out the charging stations in London and other key cities around the world.
The company has also indicated they are developing wireless charging, with the view of introducing it for London Taxi’s in the future.
For the moment, the electric taxi’s are still in the trial stage with no prediction on when they will be on sale. Cab drivers interested in registering for the trials, though, can do so by visiting http://www.newmetrocab.com/trial/
Watch Robert Llewellyn’s review of the Metrocab below in his “Fully charged show”:
Fully charged, Metrocab