Black cabs in London, much like the double decker red Routemaster buses, are an iconic sight. Instantly recognisable and famous worldwide, it only makes sense that this ancient city is leading the way when it comes to high tech taxis and private hire vehicles.
Starting in 2018, new legislation in the UK will force taxis and other private hire vehicles to meet a stringent set of rules – most notably that the vehicles must all be ‘zero-emission capable’. That’s right – the black cab is going green. With 2018 a few years off, you may think that you won’t see these new cabs any time soon – you would, however, be incorrect. The London Taxi Company isn’t one to shy away from a challenge, unveiling the new hybrid TX5 zero-emission capable taxi back in October, saying that it’ll be more than ready when the current set of cabs are phased out in 2017.
So what do these new high-tech taxis bring to the table? Unlike the diesel engines of today, these taxis come with battery charged by four cylinder petrol engine, allowing for the zero-emission capability the law requires. Despite seating an extra person, the TX5 is lighter than previous models due to its aluminium shell, effectively reducing the amount of fuel needed to run the vehicle. However, patrons of the city’s taxi service are far more likely to notice the taxi’s other features such as the panoramic glass roof and the internal WiFi capability that will come built into these taxis. On top of this, the TX5 even allows for the ability to top up your phone’s battery along the way using the built-in USB charge points.
There is very little doubt that these black cabs are leading the way when it comes to private hire vehicles, and if London hits the target that Mayor Boris Johnson put in place, we will have 9,000 of these high tech taxis on the streets by 2020. Once the TX5 has rolled out over the streets of London, the London Taxi Company will even begin selling their new taxis to firms across the world which are looking to get in on the action.
These are just some of the benefits that have been unveiled with the new TX5 taxi. Whether or not we will see any additions to this model remains to be seen, though with taxi company Uber recently having its app ruled lawful in the UK, we are likely to see this technology incorporated into the fleet of black cabs taking to London’s streets in the next few years. Uber’s selling point is that using their dedicated app you’re able to hail a minicab and have it sent to your location; if you’re hailing a cab for someone else, you can even watch their exact location on the map so you know exactly where they are and when they will arrive. If London’s fleet of black cabs were to jump on the bandwagon and capitalize on this new ruling, the sheer convenience coupled with the TX5’s high-tech gadgetry could help the fleet outdo Uber in no time at all.