The iconic London black cab is going green

Despite being under pressure from the inexorable rise of Uber, London’s iconic black cab is getting a green makeover – although the green will be kept purely on the inside.

The iconic London black cab is going green

Announced yesterday, during Chinese president Xi Jinping’s state visit to the capital, the new London TX5 taxi will be available from 2017 and designed by Chinese car manufacturer Geely. The TX5 will be manufactured at a brand-new £300 million plant near Coventry.

So, what makes the new taxi green? Well, the TX5 is a hybrid, meaning that it runs initially on electricity, before switching to petrol power when the battery runs out. In another nod to modernising the London cab, the six-seater TX5 will come with onboard Wi-Fi and contain charging points for customers to top up their phone batteries.black_cabs_to_go_green

The 2017 launch date means that the new London cabs will beat regulations guaranteeing that all-new private-hire vehicles in London can run for at least 30 miles without pumping out any emissions. Geely isn’t the only firm working on green taxis for the capital: Turkish company Karsan is working on low-emissions black cabs, and Nissan is considering it too.

Green taxis will hit the streets after London mayor Boris Johnson has left office, with mayoral elections due in May 2016, but the outgoing mayor has expressed support for hybrid cars on the capital’s streets, telling the London Assembly: “I want to particularly encourage electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids – they are the way forward.”

It seems unlikely that his two most probable successors – Labour’s Sadiq Khan and Conservative Zac Goldsmith – will be any less pro-hybrid. Khan has campaigned pretty hard on green issues, while Goldsmith rarely appears in headlines without the word “environmentalist” attached.

Images: Oatsy40 and Lars Ploughman used under Creative Commons

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