The LEVC TX electric taxi is selling like hot cakes and for good reason. Since its introduction in 2018, 3,800 cabs have been sold; sales jumped from 1,300 in 2018 to 2,507 in 2019.
The 100% electric black cab may be a similar shape and size to the iconic London taxi, but under the shiny casing there’s a whole lot of innovation going on. Let’s find out more about this nifty eco-cab.
This is the real driving force of the LEVC TX – it has almost zero emissions.
London rules require emissions of no more than 50g/km and a zero-emission range of 30 miles; this cab achieves zero on the first 80 miles of driving then 29g/km when the range extender engine is running.
Peep under the bonnet of the LEVC TX and you could be fooled into thinking you were looking at a Volvo.
The engine is very similar to those used in the Volvo T8 Twin Engine plug-in hybrid models.
The 120kW GKN Driveline eAxle electric motor for rear-wheel drive (series-hybrid configuration)
The 31 kWh battery charges fast, taking around 25 minutes to reach 80% capacity using a 50kW charger (CHAdeMO or CCS Combo).
With a range of 377 miles (607km) is more than enough for the 80-120 miles averaged in a day by cab drivers. After driving 80 miles, the 1.5l range-extender petrol engine kicks in.
If you’re wondering whether such a mammoth battery is heavy, the answer is yes. However, the rest of the TX is constructed from ultra-light aluminium panels to keep overall weight down.
Vauxford / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)
The cab has ample space for six passengers plus luggage. There’s no doubt this is a deluxe cab experience: it has WiFi, two USB charging points and a mains plug charger.
After all, this is basically a massive battery on wheels so you might as well charge your devices! Don’t forget to check whether your taxi insurance covers passenger possessions.
The panoramic roof is a real passenger pleaser, giving great views – why not look up at the sights rather than down at the traffic?
The cab still looks enough like a London cab to be instantly recognizable but it’s a little larger and has a different shape to traditional models.
The controls for heating/air con are passenger-friendly, with large, easy-to-use buttons for changing temperature and adjusting fan speed.
This is a real hit with passengers, who are delighted to be able to control the temperature of the cab.
The LEVC TX has an in-built wheelchair ramp that pops out in 10 seconds, and the wheelchair user can sit facing forwards.
For passengers with limited mobility, there’s a swivel seat nearest the pavement to make disembarkation easier.
The interior is designed with strong colour contrasts to assist those with visual impairments, as well as braille markings for controls such as USB charging, climate control and the driver intercom.
There’s also a hearing loop in the cab so people with hearing aids can communicate with the driver.
The driving experience is smooth, assisted by the regenerative braking – as soon as you ease your foot off the accelerator, the braking system slows the vehicle.
This means less particulate pollution from brakes and less sharp braking to avoid things like speed bumps.
The driving seat is ergonomic, covered with breathable, durable fabric and designed to protect against backache. The steering wheel column is adjustable and the instrument panel is well designed, with a touchscreen for easy control.
One thing you do need to get used to as a driver: this is a very quiet vehicle. Other road users such as cyclists and pedestrians are less likely to hear your approach, so extra caution and judicious use of your horn is recommended.
Don’t forget to make sure you have reliable taxi insurance as well!
It’s clear that rules on emissions are set to be tightened and tightened again in future years. In London, £42m has been allocated to encourage drivers to trade in older cars with a higher pollution footprint.
Cabs chug out more than their fair share of the capital’s pollution. Some of the most common models of taxi produce 30 times more pollution than private cars made around the same time, according to a report from the Real Urban Emissions (True).
Age is not the only factor, as some newer models of taxi produce more nitrogen oxide (NOx) and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions than older vehicles.
Cities across the world are introducing or expanding their low emission zones, slowly pushing diesel cars and more polluting cars out of urban areas.
Transport for London added a requirement to the Conditions of Fitness for all new black cabs to be able to drive 30 miles without releasing any exhaust emissions, as well as banning diesel cabs and requiring taxis to produce no more than 50g CO2 per kilometre of travel.
It’s fair to say that Chinese auto manufacturer Geely (owner of Volvo, Lotus and a 9.7% stake in Daimler) made a sound business decision when it bought London Taxis International for £11.4m back in 2015.
The business was promptly renamed the London Electric Vehicle Company and £325m was invested in a new factory and offices in Ansty, Warwickshire.
The firm got to work on a zero emissions black cab, and the LEVC TX was the result. Designers toyed with the idea of a major departure from the classic cab aesthetics, with lots of glass and robot-inspired styling, but ended up opting for taking the 1958 Austin FX4 as a style guide.
Although it’s made by a Chinese company, this is a London cab, designed and made in the UK. The LEVC TX is being exported to countries throughout Europe and the wider world, so it could be a big international success story, too.
Are you thinking of upgrading your fleet to EVs in the near future? Taxi Insurer can help. Ask the team for a quote today.