Made by the UK’s by Frazer-Nash Research and Ecotive, the 98-mpg rated and ultra-low CO2 range-extended Metrocab has been approved in London to carry fare-paying passengers.
This is the latest progress report in a story 10 years in the making for the 6/7-passenger neo-retro classic black cab with drivetrain similar in concept to a Chevrolet Volt’s.
The Range Extended Electric (REE) Metrocab is the first such vehicle licensed by Transport for London to operate on a trial basis as a London Hackney Carriage and vehicles are in use in London as we speak.
“The Metrocab has received numerous accolades and plaudits across the board in recent months, but now it is official – it is the first licensed range extended electric cab for London, and indeed the first in the world,” said Metrocab chairman, Sir Charles Masefield. “We’re very proud, and delighted with the Metrocabs’ performance, economy and range at the hands of the first few London cabbies to be operating our range extended electric taxis.”
Under the ECE101 cycle, the cab is rated for 98 mpg and CO2 emissions are less than 50g/km. The vehicle boasts running costs that save a £20 – 40 per day and is Fully compliant with London Taxi Private Hire (LTPH)regulations.
The drivetrain centers around a 1.0-liter gasoline engine coupled with rear-wheel electric drive and a 12.2-kilowatt-hour lithium-polymer battery.
Dimensions are 16-feet long by 5.9 feet wide by 6.3 feet tall, and gross vehicle weight is 5,545 pounds.
It’s well loaded with creature comforts including a panoramic glass roof, mood lighting, Passenger color display, Digital infotainment system, Air suspension, and more.
Wheelchair access is provided, and the six passenger layout can be made into seven with an optional front passenger’s seat.
The driver gets a multi-function touch screen display and instrument cluster with color display.
London Mayor Boris Johnson described it as “superb and absolutely beautiful. A masterpiece of British engineering,” he said. “The Rolls-Royce of taxis that can do 100mpg.”
Top speed is limited to 80 mph, the spec sheet does not list all-electric range. The company says it’s ready to do business in any metropolitan area in the world with its environmentally friendly commercial car.
“It is great news for me, and for cabbies across London that the Metrocab is now licensed to work in the capital. Said Preston Morris, The first London taxi driver to operate the Metrocab. “The cash savings on fuel are significant, the ride and comfort outstanding, and my first customers are thrilled with the new cab. With its air suspension providing unrivalled comfort, panoramic glass roof for views of the city and silent powertrain, what’s not to like?”
The Metrocab has reportedly a good chance of receiving further acknowledgement by the London Transport Awards 2015, in the Taxi & Private Hire Innovator of the Year category.
Meanwhile, London environmental advocates have decried the alternative – diesel-powered taxis and other vehicles. The city mandates ultra-low emissions zones and activists are working to ban diesels although in the U.S. a study has just cleared newer diesel tech for cancer and other health concerns.
The Metrocab’s design deliberately plays on a classic design while its low-emissions drivetrain aims to remove from the cityscape that which is no longer wanted.