London launches first electric taxi fleet

London wants all its taxis to be zero emissions by 2018. Here's the first wave.
Written by Tyler Falk, Contributor

London taxi operator Thriev launched London's first fleet of 20 all-electric taxis today to compete with the city's iconic black taxis run by the London Taxi Company. 

The electric fleet will use China's BYD e6 electric mini cabs. The car has a range of 186 miles on a single charge and can use the citywide changing network, funded by British Gas, to recharge 80 percent of its battery in 30 minutes, according to BYD. While not available yet, the network will eventually run on 100 percent renewable energy. It's not clear when that will happen.

This isn't a one-time move for London's taxi fleet. As RT points out, London Mayor Boris Johnson has set a deadline of 2018 for all cabs in London to be "zero emissions," in order to curb poor air quality.  

While this first wave of electric taxis was built by China's BYD, the move to "zero emissions" has brought about competition to develop more electric taxis for the city. BYD's main competitors, so far, include Nissan and Metrocab. Metrocab says the move to electric taxis could save drivers more than $300 a week.

Of course, zero emissions doesn't just mean electric taxis. The city also tested hydrogen fuel cell electric taxis during the London Olympic Games.

The BYD e6 mini cabs are also running in Hong Kong.

Late last year, BYD supplied the city with its first two all-electric buses late last year. 

Photo: Flickr/bisgovuk

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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