Extended-Range Electric Cab on Test in London

So if London mayor Boris Johnson likes your car is it a good thing?

So if London mayor Boris Johnson likes your car is it a good thing?

Apparently the folks at Frazer-Nash Research and Ecotive think so, as they quoted Johnson as saying of their Metrocab, taxi, a range-extended electric vehicle, “superb and absolutely beautiful. A masterpiece of British engineering.  The Rolls-Royce of taxis that can do 100 mpg.

It’s not clear how the people at Rolls-Royce would feel about that.

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Anyway, the Metrocab has been licensed by Transport for London to operate, on a trial basis, as a London Hackney Carriage, a.k.a., a cab.

The vehicle is powered by two 50-kW motors. There is a lithium-ion polymer battery pack on board; it has a storage capacity of 12.2 kWh. A one-liter gasoline engine acts as a generator to recharge the batteries. There is also regenerative braking, and the vehicle can be plugged in for recharging.

Among the environmental benefits cited for the Metrocab is that it produces <50g/km CO2, which is said to be 75% less than a conventional London cab.

The total range is >560 km (348 miles). The vehicle is rated at 98 mpg on the ECE101 Cycle.

While London does have a congestion charge—a hefty £11.50 per day—according to Transport for London, “Taxis and Private Hire Vehicles are exempt from paying the Congestion Charge when actively licensed with London Taxi and Private Hire (TPH),” so presumably saving on the charge does not contribute to the daily running cost savings of £20 to 40 that’s claimed for the Metrocab.