Battery Powered TX5 Unveiled

London’s iconic black cabs have received a green makeover with the launch of the latest battery-powered TX5 model, unveiled yesterday during Chinese premier Xi Jinping’s state visit to the capital.

The new London taxi, which will be available from 2017, will be made with Chinese electric vehicle technology. It was designed by the London Taxi Company, which is owned by Chinese car manufacturer Geely. The TX5 will be manufactured at a new £300m plant outside Coventry – the UK’s first new auto plant in a decade.

The six-seater TX5 boasts plug-in hybrid capabilities, meaning it can run on battery power and then switch from electric to petrol power when its battery runs out. It will also come with WiFi internet access and charging points for passengers’ mobile devices.

The cab will hit the roads just before new regulations take effect in January 2018 requiring all new taxis and private hire vehicles in London to have a ‘zero-emissions’ capability for at least 30 miles.

The launch of the new cab came on the same day London mayor, Boris Johnson, reiterated his support for electric and hybrid vehicles as a key solution to the capital’s air pollution problem. The Mayor’s remarks came in response to fierce questions from London Assembly Members over London’s air quality during Mayor’s question time yesterday.

During the session Johnson expressed particular support for electric and hybrid vehicles, which he said had the potential to become a viable option for mass-market consumers. “I want to particularly encourage electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids [in London] – they are the way forward,” he said.

Johnson insisted levels of NOx and particulate matter are coming down, but conceded that pollution was still very high in certain parts of the city.

In response to Johnson, Stephen Knight, Liberal Democrat London Assembly environment spokesperson, called on the Mayor to ban Euro VI diesel vehicles from the capital’s Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ), which will come into force in 2020. The Euro VI testing procedure has come under heavy criticism following the revelations surrounding VW’s use of a ‘defeat device’ to cheat emissions tests.

“The Mayor should admit past mistakes and now say that we are no longer going to put a badge of ‘ultra low-emission’ on a set of vehicles that are in reality nothing of the sort,” he said. “The only vehicles that should count as ultra-low-emission compliant should be vehicles tested in real-world tests. In practice it would give absolute clarity to car-drivers and fleet-owners to simply say that the ULEZ will be diesel free.”

In other green automotive news, energy storage and clean fuel firm ITM Power announced it has received the first Toyota Mirai fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) to be delivered in the UK earlier this week. It coincided with an announcement from Toyota confirming the UK will be the key early entry market for its FCEV models.

The Guardian