The old-fashioned black taxi cab that used to roam the streets of London is being re-born as an extended range electric vehicle dubbed the Metrocab, which is now slated to go into volume production next year with help from a Canadian company.
The Metrocab will be the only zero-emissions-capable black cab currently operating in London, according to Frazer-Nash Research Ltd. and Ecotive Ltd., the companies proposing to build the new cab, starting next year in Coventry, England, through a new partnership with Canadian manufacturing company, Multimatic.
Multimatic is the Toronto-area company that Ford Motor Co. recently selected to build the new Ford GT because of its expertise in handling exotic materials, such as carbon fiber.
Multimatic Niche Vehicles manufactures complete cars as well as body/chassis assemblies for low volume programs such as Aston Martin’s One-77, Zagato and GT12 and the Lagonda Taraf. Multimatic Engineering also supplies customers as diverse as Red Bull Formula One, Tesla and Mercedes AMG. The company’s plant in Coventry is now being expanded to accommodate the start of production of the six-passenger Metrocab next year.
“This announcement marks another important step in bringing the all-new electric powered Metrocab to volume production,” according to Metrocab Chairman Charles Masefield.
“Our prototype fleet is already operating very successfully in London, proving that our Range Extended Electric taxis are the solution to delivering on the City’s Ultra Low Emission Zones promises from 2018,” he said.
In recent years, London, like several other mega-cities around the world, enacted a series of tough measures to ease both congestion and pollution.
The Metrocab is available now on the streets of London as a small trial fleet operated by Comcab, and is the first zero-emission-capable taxi to be licensed by Transport for London to operate on a trial basis as a London Hackney Carriage.
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“We have been following closely the development of zero-emissions capable taxis in the UK, and have worked with Metrocab for a number of years to bring their prototype fleet to the market,” said Larry Holt, Multimatic vice president.
Holt added the taxi has clearly been designed and engineered from the ground up with the global market in mind, and Multimatic has the facilities and capabilities to make this a truly international product.
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The Metrocab is described as a Range-Extended Electric vehicle that incorporates the latest technology for comfort, performance and safety as well reduced daily operation and maintenance costs.
The taxi is driven by two electric motors, with a 1-liter gasoline engine that is coupled with an optimized generator to recharge the battery pack, which takes as little as 10 minutes while driving. Charging is also available via any mains electric outlet providing even lower fuel consumption. The cab gets 98 mpg, making it three times as efficient as current London taxis, Metrocab said. It also produces 75% less carbon dioxide than comparable current London taxis.
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Developed by Surrey-based Frazer-Nash Research over the last 10 years, the powertrain system offers ultra-low emissions and a zero emissions mode, improved air quality, reduced noise pollutionti and economic benefits including tax incentives and grants.
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