Black cab drivers in London will soon have a new weapon in the fight against Uber; an electric hybrid vehicle that’ll also replace the traditional diesel with an efficient petrol engine.
The new battery-powered TX5, which is expected to arrive in the capital by the end of 2017, will help taxis to meet the government’s requirement for zero fuel emissions by 2018.
The vehicle will feature a range extended battery that’s likely to get drivers through the day, although there are no specifics yet on how far it’ll travel on a single charge.
The prototype, unveiled this week by the London Taxi Company, retains much of the iconic design language, while also featuring a new lightweight aluminium body structure.
Also, for the first time, there’ll be a panoramic glass roof, perfect for sightseeing around London. There’ll also be Wi-Fi access and charging points for both drivers and passengers.
It’ll also be more spacious and have room for a forward-facing wheelchair, while drivers will also continue to benefit from that innate ability to turn on a sixpence.
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The cars have been manufactured by Chinese car-maker Geely, the LTC’s parent company, and were revealed as part of a state visit from president Xi Jinping, also attended by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
Geely also announced it will invest a further £50m in its new Warwickshire production facility, bringing the total investment to £300m. It’s the first new car factory to be built in the UK in over a decade.