Plenty of taxis head for Goodwood at Festival of Speed time… but only one has ever been allowed on the hillclimb. And it didn’t even take a wrong turn…
JUN 22nd 2017
10 things you need to know about the new London taxi
Complete with camouflaged body and a real racing driver behind its wheel, this was the world sneak peek of the all-new black cab from the London Taxi Company (LTC).
Why so special? Though obviously recognisable as a black cab in shape, this is an all-new body as well as all-new underneath. And there’s no smelly diesel here. The black cab is going electric.
While Ginetta race ace 17-year-old Katie Milner was on driving duties for the taxi’s world debut reveal at FoS, GRR caught up with LTC’s Will Barber for this exclusive 10-point all-you-need-to-know…
1. Lotus helped develop it. Lotus (now part of the same Geely-owned automotive group as LTC and also Volvo) lent its expertise to make the new bonded aluminium chassis strng butx very light weight.
2. But a Lotus high performance version of the taxi is unlikely! And despite Katie’s enthusiasm for it, also unlikely is a one-make race series…
3. It is pretty fast already. With its electric motor providing lots of torque from zero revs cabbies have been taken aback at its “incredible” acceleration from a standing start. Traffic lights grand prix drivers you have been warned!
4. The turning circle is the same as before, despite the cab being a little longer. It will still make the the ultimate test – the Savoy Hotel roundabout in London – in one move.
5. It’s a plug-in hybrid with range extender engine. So while it can cruse the streets silently with zero tailpipe emissions for most of the time, its small Volvo-sourced petrol engine can chip in and charge up the batteries (under the driver’s seat) when required. So it won’t strand you when you are on your way to Heathrow…
6. It has been tested lots. LTC says it has covered over a million development miles in places like the Arizona desert and Arctic Circle.
7. It’s has a huge panoramic roof. The glass (it will be an option) transforms the space inside – and is perfect for tourists to get a truly uplifting view of London.
8. It’s connected. There are charging points and wifi in the back.
9. A key driver in its development is the huge potential improvement the silent, clean cab could bring to quality of life in city centres.
10. It’s on sale later this year. Despite the expensive aluminium and hybrid technology, LTC’s Will Barber says that after a grant, it will come with an affordable price for cabbies.
And there is interest in it from elsewhere too, from as far afield as Holland and Hong King… and yes even south of the river…