New hybrid black cab will hit London roads in 2017, a year before all taxis are required to be capable of ‘zero emissions’ motoring, reports Business Green
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 VIdiesel 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.
Nissan and BMW will collaborate to advance electric vehicle and plug-in hybrid vehicle (PHEV) adoption in South Africa.
Nissan South Africa and BMW Group signed a Memorandum of Understanding to jointly plan and build a national grid of EV and PHEV vehicle charging stations for use by both Nissan and BMW vehicles.
“Our introduction of the 100% electric Nissan LEAF in 2013 was part of Nissan’s global drive to advance sustainable mobility and to grow the market for zero-emission vehicles. With this in mind we believe our partnership with BMW SA is a sound investment to create a future-
proof automobile industry,” said Mike Whitfield, MD of Nissan South Africa.
Mr Tim Abbott, Managing Director of BMW South Africa says industry wide cooperation is the key to the future success of electric vehicles. “A key imperative of our strategy is to ensure that the necessary infrastructure is rolled out to help increase consumer confidence in the viability of electric vehicles. We therefore believe that in order for the introduction and expansion of electric vehicles as well as plug-in hybrid electric vehicles to be successful in this market, we need to work together. Our partnership with Nissan is the first step towards that.”
The agreement will see BMW SA and NSA roll out direct current fast-charging stations that are equipped with both the Combined Charging System 2 used by BMW’s electric and plug-in hybrid models and the Charge de Move system plug standards used by Nissan’s 100% electric LEAF.
The national grid of charging stations will also make use of smaller alternating current type vehicle chargers in certain regions, both manufacturers said. As part of the newly signed agreement, these chargers will be equipped with ‘Type 2′ sockets that allow the connection of all EVs and PHEVs.
Planning and building a national electric vehicle charging infrastructure will be managed by a joint task team comprising executives from both manufacturers.
BMW SA introduced its EV and PHEV models, the BMW i3 and the BMW i8 in March this year, while the LEAF was introduced in South Africa in 2013.
Last month, Joburg suburb Parkhurst said it aims to install electric car charging points as part of a Go-Green renewable energy initiative.
The suburb is planning to install four charging stations initially and is working with the City of Joburg on a way forward.
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