Taxis will be propelled into a new era at this year’s British International Motor Show with the launch of the UK’s very first electric taxi.
Launched by Glasgow based Allied Vehicles which builds thousands of taxis each year, the new E7 taxi appears in the electric pavilion for the duration of the motor show.
The electric taxi will be available from October 2008 and is the result of three years research and development by Allied, which is already looking for local authority partners to install recharging networks locally to help drive down urban emissions.
However, a recent snub by Transport for London’s taxi licensing division, the Public Carriage Office, means the UK’s first zero emission taxi will not be appearing on the capital’s streets anytime soon.
The E7 is powered entirely by cutting edge Lithium-ion batteries which have been developed and supplied by Europe’s leading independent manufacturer, Dundee based Axeon Holdings plc. These give the electric E7 a range of up to 100 miles from a single charge and a top speed of 60mph.
Producing no carbon, particulates or other pollutant emissions, the E7 is eligible for a 100% discount from vehicle excise duty, as well as lower daily running costs.
With rising fuel prices an increasing problem for taxi drivers, the electric E7 is cheaper to run than a traditional black cab*. Allied’s confidence in the technology is underlined with batteries featuring a six-year warranty and the base vehicle boasting a two-year unlimited mileage Peugeot warranty.
The electric E7 also provides full wheelchair access. Thanks to its large rear-passenger area wheelchair users can enter the vehicle more easily and be turned into the correct position for travel, before being secured safely with high-quality wheelchair restraints and passenger seat belts.
Each taxi is equipped with retractable side-steps and a specially designed, under-floor wheelchair ramp to further improve accessibility for disabled passengers.
The new E7 taxi combines the comfort and safety required by the modern taxi driver including a driver’s airbag, a feature which is unavailable on traditional black cabs.
“Taxis and their drivers have a hard life and with the rising cost of diesel at the moment, it is only going to get worse,” said Gerry Facenna, Chairman of Allied Vehicles.
“For the majority of taxi drivers, the key issue when buying a new cab is usually the cost to run, service and maintain their vehicle. In the current economic climate drivers are looking for ways to reduce costs and electric power offers an ideal solution, especially for congested urban areas where traffic is stop-start for much of the day.
“We’ve had a positive response to electric vehicles from many local authorities, both in the UK and in Europe. However it’s a shame that London looks set to miss out, especially since its famous taxi fleet is currently responsible for 4% of all emissions in the capital,” he added.
The E7 will cost £39,450. To put this into perspective, a London style black taxi based on a TX4 silver automatic is in the region of £35,455 on the road.