The iconic London black taxi is getting a 21st century makeover. The London EV Company, previously known as the London Taxi Company, has unveiled the modern, hybrid TX for eco-minded cabbies. It might look similar to the black cabs you're used to, but the TX should be kinder to drivers' wallets and the environment.
Before we go any further, there's one thing we need to get out of the way. London taxis are an instantly-recognizable British symbol, but the London EV Company is owned by Geely, which is 100 percent Chinese. Although the company is named after the British capital, the TX will be a truly global product, with a batch of 225 bound for the Netherlands shortly after launch.
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Power will come from a hybrid battery-electric drivetrain with a claimed 400 mile (644 km) range. The car will be able to cover over 70 miles (113 km) with no local emissions, before leaning on a small petrol generator to extend range from the battery. LEVC is calling the powertrain an eCity setup, and promises it will save drivers around £100 (US$128) per week in fuel costs.
The cabin of the taxi has been brought into the 21st century, too. There are phone charging ports for drivers and passengers, and on-board Wi-Fi is also standard. Up front, the steering wheel and central touchscreen will look remarkably familiar to anyone who's sat in a modern Volvo. Oh, by the way, Geely owns Volvo as well.
From the outside, the new TX is instantly recognizable as a London taxi, with an upright grille and circular headlamp detailing. The back doors are hinged from the rear and open to 90 degrees, for easier entry and egress after a few lagers at the local tavern. The body itself is made of aluminum, designed to offset the extra weight associated with adding all the heavy electric components.
"From our heritage as the manufacturer of the iconic London Taxi, we have unparalleled insight into the needs of commercial operators," says Chris Gubbey, CEO of LEVC. "Drawing on the best of British design and engineering as well as technical expertise from our sister company Volvo, our products will help transform city living and provide taxi drivers with an average weekly fuel saving of £100 compared with our outgoing diesel model."
The TX will be on sale from the start of August, though no pricing has been confirmed. Priority will be given to drivers who have expressed interest in the new Chinese-owned, British-designed taxi with Swedish interior components ahead of launch.
Source: London EV CompanyView gallery - 11 images