Black London taxicabs may soon turn green under the hood.

London Mayor Boris Johnson took a first look Friday, Dec. 20 at the all-new Range-Extended Electric Powertrain (REEP) Metrocab from UK-based Ecotive and its technology partner Frazer-Nash Research.

Ecotive said the mayor also couldn’t resist the temptation to get behind the wheel of this new type of London taxicab for a short drive in the underground car park at city hall, demonstrating that the Metrocab is ready for market.

Designed, engineered and built in-house by Ecotive and Frazer-Nash in Mytchett, Surrey, UK, the new taxi for London is set to take to the city’s streets as a trial fleet early in 2014.

“Ecotive, with technical expertise from Frazer-Nash, has designed a unique and purpose-built new Metrocab taxi for London with zero emissions capabilities, which is exactly the type of vehicle I would be delighted to see entering the market,” said  London Mayor Boris Johnson.

Limited technical details are being released at the moment. The icon on the company’s Web site under Metro Cab only lets users sign up for future notifications.

However, it does explain general principles behind its REEP technology.

The diagram shows one motor for each of the front wheels and the expandable architecture is designed to go beyond petrol.


“The use of our proprietary ‘Digital Differential’ eliminates all the mechanical losses associated with conventional internal combustion drive trains, much of which have been carried over to today’s series of parallel hybrids. The Digital Differential allows for synchronised motor control, traction, and performance, says the company’s Eco Motive Web site. “This configuration allows easy integration with alternative auxiliary power units and/or other fuel types (such as hydrogen or fuel cells).”

As for the Metrocab from Ecotive and Frazer-Nash, this related tech is said to be the latest in a long line of electric powered transport solutions they have marketed; the company has been for the last 25 years developing fully-integrated digital electric and hybrid-electric powertrains.

Ecotive explained the Metrocab is powered by a lithium-ion polymer battery pack complimented by a pair of electric motor, one for each of the rear wheels.

“The Metrocab is designed as the next-generation London taxicabs and represents a revolution in the market as the first electric-powered cab to meet the duty cycle of a London taxi, where cabbies typically drive many miles from outside the city – making pure electric cars impractical with current technology and infrastructure, said Metrocab Chairman Sir Charles Masefield. “Ready now, our range extended drivetrain technology offers the solution London and other world-class cities are looking for.  We are confident Metrocab will make a real impact in the market and provide a better service to cities, drivers and passengers alike.”

Ecotive ended its statement by adding that following the trial early 2014, the Metrocab will be rolled out in London and other key cities around the world.