While the industry clamors to put electric taxis in the air, London is taking its first real steps toward electrifying its ground-based taxi fleet.
The aptly named Dynamo Motor Company has deployed its first all-electric, zero-emission taxi cab. The cab itself is based on Nissan e-NV-series passenger van and sports an 80-kilowatt (107 horsepower) electric motor that produces 187 pound-feet of torque. Power comes from a 40-kwh battery pack, which Dynamo says is good enough for 174 miles of range on a single charge.
174 miles may seem like a decent range for an urban EV, but taxi miles add up quickly. With 50-kilowatt charging capacity, drivers might not be in a position to recharge often during working hours. Even Dynamo acknowledges that the cab is best for those serving densely packed urban areas.
"Dynamo Motor Company are respectfully and humbly entering into the licensed Hackney carriage market," Dynamo said in its announcement. "The Dynamo Taxi isn’t for everybody, but for those who ply their trade in the City, for those who are open to change and can see the benefits of Electric, it fits perfectly."
As the Guardian points out, Dynamo's entry is the first licensed all-electric cab in London since 1899, when the Bersey failed to win acceptance over horse-drawn carriages.
Dynamo quite a few advantages over its predecessor. Thanks to a government dead-set on reducing CO2 and particulate emissions, Dynamo's taxi is significantly cheaper to operate than its fuel-burning peers, and its up-front cost is heavily subsidized as well.
Given Nissan's enthusiasm for picking up taxi markets with its NV vans, it's surprising that the automaker hasn't pushed harder to get its electric variants into more cab fleets. Not even the cargo variant is available stateside, and it appears DHL is going to get a leg up in that regard with its StreetScooter line of small electric utilities.