London’s Taxi Drivers have been waiting in anticipation and trepidation for details and a first sighting of the new Electric Taxi which was unveiled by the newly branded London Electric Vehicle Company (LEVC) yesterday (11th July).
Much of the trepidation has centred on the price of the Zero Emission capable ‘TX ECITY’. However the full purchase price was not revealed yesterday. Representatives of LEVC, though, suggested that the purchase price should not be considered in isolation but rather in context of the expected savings you are likely to make on weekly running costs and lower servicing and maintenance costs.
LEVC will likely market this vehicle with the average weekly cost which will factor in all of the expected savings they expect that you will make.
Another worry for drivers was whether there would be any additional costs surrounding the battery packs. The batteries will be included in the price of the vehicle and will come with a Five Year warranty. Representatives believe however that the lifetime of the batteries will far exceed that and they are confident that a lifetime of 12 to 14 years can be achieved.
There are three battery packs situated on the underside of the vehicle beneath the luggage area and driver area. These are surrounded by a number of pipes which are designed so that the batteries can operate at their optimum temperature.
The range extension is courtesy of a 1.5 litre petrol engine which LEVC say will give a range extension of around 320 Miles; this is in addition to the Zero Emission range of around 70 to 80 miles. So you will have a total range of around 400 miles; the capacity of the fuel tank is 30 Litres. However LEVC seem to be confident that this range could actually be significantly higher. They are confident that you will be able to achieve 50 to 60 MPG, but again feel that this could be comfortably exceeded.
You will be able to drive the vehicle with or without the range extender. You will also be able to set the TX ECITY to ‘Intelligent Mode’, which will enable the vehicle to ‘choose’ when the range extension needs to ‘kick in’ to keep the batteries at their optimum charge.
The engine itself will run at a consistent RPM which is set to an optimum running level. The service interval has been set at 18,000 miles. The Cam Belt is recommended to be changed at around 75,000 miles.
The vehicle has, as you would expect, full disabled access including a swivel seat and wheelchair ramps which are similar to the TX4 but appear to be more discreet.
The TX ECITY has air conditioning in the front and rear (and can be controlled in the rear by the passenger). The rear compartment has USB ports a charging point and can comfortably seat 6 people.
It also has a DAB radio and for the first time an Airbag for Driver safety.
The TX ECITY is the same width as a current TX4 but is longer. Designers have tried to keep the tradition of the iconic shape coupled with a modern ‘layer cake’ design which they hope will age well and stand the test of time.
LEVC will start taking orders from August 1st and expect to make first deliveries around the end of November.
London trials of the vehicle will start around the first week of October.
LEVC have invested £330 Million into the new TX ECITY and they appear very confident that it will be a reliable vehicle needing low maintenance. If they have achieved this and the price is affordable then perhaps within a few years the TX ECITY will be a familiar site on London’s roads.