London Black Taxi's To Go Plug-In in 2017
The iconic black London taxi cab is about to get a major upgrade and makeover. Geely, the Chinese firm that owns London Taxi Company, as well as Volvo, plans to raise some £276 million (about US$400 million) in "green bonds" to bring its prototype TX5 electric hybrid taxi to production at its new £52.8 (US&77.2) million assembly plant in Ansty, Warwickshire, which also will house Geely's U.K. R&D center.
Powered by an 'extended range' plug-in hybrid drive that mates an electric motor and 12.2 kWh lithium-ion battery to a petrol generator, the TX5 is expected to have an EV-mode range upwards of 30 miles (55 km) per charge. This should help reduce air pollution in downtown London, where many of the current generation of cabs use fuel-efficient, but polluting diesel engines. (Londoner's can peronally measure the air quality around them with Drayson Technologies CleanSpace carbon monoxide sensors.)>
Range and durability are improved by the use of light-weight materials: composite body panels and an aluminum frame.
The first TX5s are slated to roll-off the line starting in 2017, with wider international distribution planned for 2018. The plant near Coventry will have the capacity to produce as many as 36,000 taxis annually.
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