London’s black cabs go electric and Japan embraces autonomy

Hybrid electric black cabs are officially ready to take to the streets of London, while preparations are underway in Yokohama, Japan for an autonomous e-mobility trial.

black cabs

After several months of testing, the London EV Company’s (LEVC) TX taxi has been fully certified and can start taking its first passengers. The hybrid vehicle features a battery electric powertrain with a small backup petrol generator. It has an overall range up to 400 miles, with an 80-mile pure electric range. The six-seater cab also features a filter system to remove gases and particles from incoming air, as well as a sensor that closes the external air intake when it detects elevated levels of pollution.

London black taxi cab gets 21st century makeover

“After extensive testing, LEVC’s new taxi is ready to do the job it was made for: transport people around this great city of London safely, cleanly and stylishly,” said Chris Gubbey, CEO of the LEVC.

“Better for passengers, more cost effective for drivers, it will play a major role in helping to improve air quality benefiting all Londoners. I am immensely proud of the work we have carried out so far: we have produced a new icon, the world’s most advanced electric taxi.”

Built at a brand new production plant near Coventry, the TX came to fruition following the takeover of the London Taxi Company by Chinese automotive giant Geely. To mark the transition to EV production, the name of the business was changed to the London EV Company in July 2017. As well as being cleaner than the black cabs currently on the roads, the TX promises a better passenger experience, with features such as wheelchair accessibility, phone and laptop charging, onboard WiFi and contactless card machines. Safety features include forward collision warnings, autonomous emergency braking and emergency brake assistance

black cabs

Meanwhile in Japan, a new trial is going a step further than the TX, removing the driver completely and offering autonomous electric mobility to passengers. EasyRide, taking place in the Minatomirai district of Yokohama, is being run by Nissan and DeNA, a Japanese e-commerce and telecoms company. Using a mobile app, passengers will be able to summon autonomous vehicles, set destinations and pay fares. Customers will also be able to select recommended local destinations and sightseeing routes. The field test will get underway in March 2018 and the two companies are currently recruiting participants.