Your Arizonan taxi won't go south of the border at this time of night.
You’d think the notoriously hellish Coventry ring road would be a stern enough test for a new car prototype, but taxi manufacturer LTC, which is based in the city, has decided it needs to send its new electrified model all the way to Arizona for final proofing.
The new TX5 uses a three-cylinder gasoline engine from Volvo to generate electricity, but should be capable of up to 70 miles (112 kilometers) on a charge from the plug. The Arizona program involved daily runs of 300 miles (483 km), three times the average mileage that a London taxi can expect to cover. The vehicles have already been put through the mill in the Arctic Circle, and the company aims to have each prototype cover more than 300,000 miles (482,800 km) of testing.
LTC CEO Chris Gubbey said:
"Since announcing this project we have had considerable interest not just from European cities but hot weather cities around the world. To convert this interest into sales we must prove the TX5 can perform as well in the 45°C heat of Dubai as it can in the sub-zero temperatures of the Arctic, and as it does in the changeable conditions of London."
The new taxi comes fitted with a panoramic glass roof, which should allow fares a great view of the sights around London — less practical in the blazing sun of the Sonoran Desert, but the company has been keen to show that the TX5 can still cope with the air conditioning on full blast.
Meanwhile, efforts are underway to install a network of fast charging stations around central London ahead of the introduction of the new taxi in October, allowing cabbies to gain a few miles of range while they enjoy a bacon sandwich and a few minutes with a trashy red-top newspaper.
LTC’s head of quality, Dr Wolfram Liedtke, said: "In the next few weeks, our equipment testing will also take us to extremely humid environments, as well as some more mountainous terrain. This is all preparation for one of the most challenging environments for vehicles – everyday use on the streets of London."
The electric model is a response to new regulations which come into force on 1 January 2018, which state that any new taxi being presented for approval by the government must be capable of 30 miles (48 km) of electric-only driving and emit less than 50 g/km CO2. If an internal combustion engine is used, then it has to run on gasoline fuel.
LTC has invested more than £300 million ($386M) in the new TX5, including a bespoke factory that has just been completed on the outskirts of Coventry that will also build a light van using the same underpinnings as the new black cab.
The company is owned by Chinese firm Geely, which hit the news this week for adding Proton and Lotus to its impressive stable of brands that already includes a number of homegrown manufacturers and Swedish car company Volvo.
London Taxi Company tests new TX5 model
LONDON TAXI COMPANY’S ALL-NEW RANGE-EXTENDED ELECTRIC BLACK CAB SHINES IN EXTREME ARIZONA DESERT HEAT
As Summer Arrives In The UK, London Taxi Company’s All-New Range-Extended Electric Black Cab Shines In Extreme Arizona Desert Heat
Thursday 1st June 2017, Coventry, England: London Taxi Company (LTC)’s strenuous testing regime for its range extended electric vehicle has taken the cab to the extreme desert heat of Arizona in the U.S.
A critical part of the development programme of the vehicle, extreme climate testing not just proves the considerable distances the vehicle can cover whilst the atmospheric controls are running at full power, but also that the new cab is a vehicle suitable for the world, not just for London.
On sale in the final quarter of 2017, LTC’s new electric taxi will be the most comprehensively tested product in the company’s history, all to ensure that it meets not just the high regulatory standards of London but the requirements and climates of cities all around the world.
Chris Gubbey, CEO of the London Taxi Company said:“Since announcing this project we have had considerable interest not just from European cities but hot weather cities around the world. To convert this interest into sales we must prove TX5 can perform as well in the 45 °C heat of Dubai as it can in the sub-zero temperatures of the Arctic, and as it does in the changeable conditions of London.”
On these trials, the vehicle successfully undertook daily of journeys of 300 miles, the equivalent of driving from Heathrow to central London some 20 times. This is roughly triple the average daily mileage of the typical London cab, reassuring cab drivers that there are plenty of extra-miles in the tank if they’re sharing the vehicle with another driver, or, should they land a popular “roader” (London cabbie parlance for a long-distance fare).
This shows that despite additional pressure of extreme heat on the battery, the cab can still cover considerable distances. So, regardless of the conditions outside, both driver and passenger will be able to travel in comfort without worrying about the range of the vehicle.
Leaving the passenger free to enjoy the sights of the city through the panoramic roof, and the driver to experience long range, zero emissions driving in maximum comfort.
Dr Wolfram Liedtke, Head of Quality at LTC said: “Testing in these extremes provides us with a huge amount of data, helping us to understand how the performance of the batteries changes at high temperatures, and how can get the most charge out of them.
“In the next few weeks, our equipment testing will also take us to extremely humid environments, as well as some more mountainous terrain. This is all preparation for one of the most challenging environments for vehicles – everyday use on the streets of London.”
LTC is due to start its vehicle demonstration programme in London this summer and, thanks to this testing in Arizona, the cab’s first customers will keep cool during what has started off as a sweltering summer in the capital.