The prospect of London’s black cabs going electric has come a step closer with the unveiling of a prototype that will be trialled on the capital’s streets as early as next year. Nissan has promised that its new London taxi, a van-like vehicle, can eliminate 20% of the capital’s exhaust pollution caused by its 22,000 black cabs. But the carmaker warned that it was now down to politicians to make electric traffic a practical reality.
The London mayor, Boris Johnson, has pledged that a zero-emission taxi fleet will be in service by 2020, although London assembly members have queried the slow rate of installing charging points for electric vehicles.
The NV200 taxi will also be produced in a diesel engine version that Nissan claims is 50% more fuel-efficient than existing cabs. The vehicle retains the distinguishing features of London cabs – the for-hire light and the 25-foot turning circle reportedly required to drive to the Savoy hotel’s front door – but also has aesthetically questionable tinted sunroofs and sliding doors.
The taxis, expected to be on general sale to cabbies by 2014, will be built in Barcelona but the electric versions will have the batteries and motors produced in Sunderland. Via Prototype of electric London black cab unveiled