China-made electric black cab unveiled in London

Updated 2017-12-07 13:31:58 CGTN
The new cab can run 125 kilometers on a single battery charge. (Photo/CGTN)

The new cab can run 125 kilometers on a single battery charge. (Photo/CGTN)

London's black cabs are iconic. Around the world, the Hackney carriage is an instantly recognizable symbol of the UK capital.

As I race around London for work, hopping in and out of the famous black taxis is certainly one of the nicest ways to get around.

But it is a bit a guilty pleasure because they're not good for the environment, and like most major cities around the world, London has a big problem with pollution.

My taxi trips will soon be guilt-free though because the black cab has gone green – brand new electric taxis are now picking up passengers on the streets of London.

On first glance, the electric cabs look the same as their diesel-powered predecessors but that's where the similarities end. The taxis have been completely redesigned by Chinese automaker Geely.

One of the nicest new additions is the panoramic sunroof which gives a unique perspective on London's famous landmarks.

The wifi is a welcome addition as well, as is the USB charging port for your smartphone and the full-size power socket if you need to work on your laptop.

The new cab can run 125 kilometers on a single battery charge. For longer journeys, there is a gasoline engine which extends its range to nearly 650 kilometers.

Cabbies who've been testing the vehicles say they are much nicer to drive, but the price could put some drivers off.

Costing 55,599 pounds (74,418 US dollars), the electric cab is almost 10,000 pounds (13,384 US dollars) more expensive than the newest diesel equivalent. But any cabbies looking to upgrade next year will have to cough up the cash.

From January 1, 2018, Transport for London will only be issuing licenses to taxis with zero emissions capability, effectively starting the phase-out of diesel cabs from the capital.

Having gone green, the black cab could next be going global as other cities follow in London's footsteps.

Amsterdam has already ordered 225 of the new electric taxis and Geely says the new cabs could be seen in cities across China as well.

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