The first fleet of zero-emission cabs has started ferrying passengers in London as part of a trial.
Developed by Surrey-based Frazer-Nash, the new Metrocab was licensed by Transport of London earlier this month, becoming the first zero-emission enabled taxi to serve in the UK capital.
“We have been developing the new Metrocab for ten years now, with over a million miles of powertrain testing completed,” said the company’s regional operations director Gordon Dixon.
“I’m so proud that it has been licensed by Transport for London to operate on a trial basis as a London Hackney Carriage.”
The car is propelled by an electric motor with an auxiliary small petrol-powered engine as a range-extender. The petrol engine never powers the wheels but can be switched on whenever required to recharge the car’s battery, effectively removing the range anxiety.
Metrocab says the one-litre petrol engine can fully charge the battery in as little as ten minutes.
The car is the first market-ready vehicle that meets the requirement of Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, for all taxis operating in central London to be able to switch into the zero emission mode by 2018.
Frazer-Nash is running the trials in cooperation with taxi operator ComCab.
“We’re very proud to be partnering with Metrocab on this pilot fleet of these superb Range-Extended Electric taxis,” said ComCab's Karl Maresch. “It could revolutionise our business, with the cost savings being very significant.”
Promising to cut cost for taxi drivers to as low as £10 a day, Frazer-Nash has gone beyond the regular plug-in concept and developed a solar-powered charging station that could be used to charge the cars at almost no cost.
The car also provides full disabled accessibility and is fitted with a transparent panoramic roof for sight-seeing.
The Metrocab has been shortlisted for the London Transport Awards 2015 in the Taxi & Private Hire Innovator of the Year category, with the winners to be announced in March.
E&T had the chance to take a test ride in the solar-powered Metrocab last year. Watch our video below: