London's black cab is going green as the new electric taxi takes to the capital's roads, and is now fully certified to carry fare-paying passengers for the first time.
The London Electric Vehicle Company (LEVC), which renamed from the London Taxi Company in September, unveiled the new look vehicles back in July, and wheeled out the first of the batch for testing in London in October.
The new model, the TX, has a small petrol generator with an advanced battery electric powertrain, giving drivers a range of 80 miles on pure electric, and a combined range of up to 400 miles.
The new taxi - featuring a panoramic roof and on-board Wi-Fi:
It has six seats, contactless card machines, on-board Wi-Fi and USB charging. The new taxis retail at £55,599, and LEVC says it will save drivers on average £100 a week in fuel.
Chris Gubbey, chief executive of the LEVC, said:
After extensive testing, LEVC’s new taxi is ready to do the job it was made for: transport people around this great city of London safely, cleanly and stylishly.
Better for passengers, more cost effective for drivers, it will play a major role in helping to improve air quality benefiting all Londoners. I am immensely proud of the work we have carried out so far: we have produced a new icon, the world’s most advanced electric taxi.
LEVC has already inked a deal to take the taxis to Amsterdam, and said it will deliver new models in Europe later next year.
From January, all new London taxis sold have to be zero emissions capable, as part of the mayor's push to improve air quality in the capital.
However, a plan to roll out 75 rapid charging points by the end of the year looks unlikely to be met until 2018, though mayor Sadiq Khan said the rate of delivery is expected "to rise dramatically".
He said that Transport for London is prioritising the delivery "to ensure there is sufficient coverage to meet demand from taxi drivers as they transition to zero emission capable vehicles from the start of next year".