London's electric black cab plans to drive into second overseas market after Amsterdam deal

 
Rebecca Smith
Next step, world domination?
Next step, world domination? (Source: LEVC)

The new electric black cabs are soon to be unleashed on the capital's roads to fare paying passengers, after tests in London in October.

And the company behind them, the London Electric Vehicle Company (which renamed from the London Taxi Company in September) is picking up interest from overseas too.

It already secured a deal with Dutch firm RMC for around 225 of its vehicles to be rolled out across Amsterdam, and LEVC's chief executive Chris Gubbey has told Reuters the firm is close to announcing a second European destination.

"Quite soon, hopefully there will be an announcement on the second one after Amsterdam," he said. "We're getting very close now."

Read more: Here are the futuristic concepts that led to the new electric black cab

In October, six test cabs took to London's roads to enter the final phase of testing, with drivers collecting information such as the emissions savings made, and the performance of London's charge point infrastructure, ahead of being delivered to customers and being available for passengers.

A January deadline looms for all newly licensed taxis in London to be zero emission capable, but concerns remain over the infrastructure capability in the capital. Mayor Sadiq Khan said earlier this month that a target to roll out 75 rapid charging points by the end of the year, looks unlikely to be met until 2018.

Khan said that at present, the capital has just 29 of the points, with plans for a further 15 by the end of the month.

"The rate of delivery is expected to rise dramatically, with over 130 locations currently being worked on," Khan said. "New rapid charging points will form part of an integrated network with the best possible experience, including pay as you go, customer call centres, and online data on locations and availability."

Liberal Democrat London Assembly member Caroline Pidgeon called the news "depressing", and said wider plans to reach 300 rapid charging points by 2020 were "far too timid".

"The mayor needs to do some basic maths. Even when used back to back, a rapid charging point can only charge 48 vehicles every 24 hours," she said. "With 110,000 taxis and private hire vehicles on London's roads, not to mention thousands of vans, a network of 300 rapid charging points will never be sufficient to support these vehicles running on electricity."

Read more: London's new electric black cab arrives on the capital's roads today

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