One of the most iconic scenes when strolling through ‘ol London Town is seeing the classic London black cabs, or hackneys as they are referred to by locals, and now these classics are electrifying the London scene.
By that we don’t mean that these tried and tested classics are changing, well at least not from the outside, but these history making cars are under going some significant changes under the hood. The move is a foot to make all new cabs be zero emission and as such the industry is scrambling a bit as they look to try and make this happen, especially when London car drivers lease or buy around 3,000 vehicles a year. So the London Electric Vehicle Company (LEVC) has begun to deliver the next generations of the iconic rides with its TX and TX4 versions. While the design really hasn’t changed much from the outside, and this is kind of a long story, but the regulations around what and how the cabs have to be is crazy as an example the cabs must not be higher than 15 inches from the ground, they must be able to accommodate wheel chairs and, here’s the doozey, they must be able to make a U turn within a 28 foot radius.
The Tx is a plug in hybrid that can do about 80 miles on a full charge, at lower speeds, and comes with a 148 horse power on 31 kilowatt battery pack and comes with a turbo charged Volvo 1.5-liter inline three gas engine for times that it has to get to a charging station. The interior has gone through a modernization with a new digital dash board and a built in navigation aid, which is pure blasphemy for any London cab driver as getting a cabbie license in London is akin to having a PHD in driving. Before you can actually get your cab licence, prospects are forced to memorize multiple thousands of roads around the country’s capital before they can be granted their papers and most take between two and four years to get and only about 40% of those who start actually finish. The rest of the interior is both roomy and comfortable for both, we assume, the driver and the passenger.
And don’t think that it will be cheap for drivers to get into one of these as the costs will end up being north of $60,000 USD, even after the British Government’s rebates for the purchase and use of electrified vehicles. What’s really interesting is that this move to electric vehicles is actually a deja vu of sorts, as the original and first non horse drawn cabs were actually electric and were introduced in 1897. Goes to show that what’s new is old.