It has been an extremely tough couple of years for the traditional London black hackney carriage, especially as the company that originally manufactured them, Manganese Bronze, declared bankruptcy and then eventually was bought out by the Chinese company Geely. Luckily, Geely has decided to continue production of the iconic car, however in order to secure the tradition of British black cabs more manufacturers are now stepping in with their versions.
For example, Nissan has recently revealed its new design for London taxis, which sits on the same platform as the New York taxi also developed by the company, however has been adapted so that it retains some of the iconic stylistic elements of the traditional London version. At the moment the plan is for each vehicle to come with a 1.5 litre engine as standard, however Nissan have stated that they are hoping to create an electric version in the not too distant future.
Discussing the possibilities of electric taxis, executive vice president Andy Palmer said: “Running costs for an electric vehicle are about a tenth of a diesel, so the business case is there, so long as charging times can be reduced. The best way to answer concerns about electric cars is to get people into them. If you think of the millions who ride in black cabs each day, then you get a feel for what these vehicles could achieve in terms of changing perceptions.”
Nissan have predicted that even though this project could greatly improve the popularity and visibility of electric cars in the country’s capital, it will also make the company little money due to the fact that only twenty thousand taxis are currently running right now. However, if they work with taxi drivers when it comes to future models of the taxi (as they did when they designed this version), we may be able to see an electric car that will not only prove popular in London but also the rest of the UK.
Electric taxis could be a great way to reduce CO2 emissions in the UK, however many taxi drivers are wary due to the fact that even though they save money in fuel consumption they generally cost more when it comes to taxi insurance. However, if the government offers incentives for taxi drivers in the next few years a petrol or diesel taxi in London could become a thing of the past.