A fully electric version of London's iconic black cab was launched Wednesday. The zero-emission vehicle, called the Dynamo Taxi, is based on the Nissan e-NV200 Evalia. It has a range of as much as 187 miles on a single charge, can carry a maximum of five passengers and is wheelchair accessible.
London's connection to fully electric cabs dates back to 1897, when a vehicle called the Bersey made its debut. Powered by motors, the Bersey had a range of 30 miles and its top speed was 9 miles per hour, according to the Science Museum, but the company behind it was unprofitable and shut in 1899.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said in a statement issued Wednesday that working with cabbies – cab drivers – to go electric was a "key part of our plans to improve London's air quality."
"The Dynamo Taxi will accelerate the retirement of polluting diesel taxis from city streets across the U.K., improving air quality, helping to tackle the climate emergency and to create a green economy," he added.
Along with red double decker buses and the Tube, black cabs are an iconic part of London's transport infrastructure. In recent years, efforts have been made to reduce their impact on the environment.
Since January 2018, taxis in London being licensed for the first time have had to be "zero emission capable." Their carbon dioxide emissions must not be greater than 50 grams per kilometer and they need to have a minimum zero emission range of 30 miles.
The Dynamo Taxi is priced at £55,495 ($71,461) although it is eligible for a £7,500 grant to reduce costs. It adds to London's sustainable transport options, joining the London EV Company's TX vehicle on city streets. Powered by a lithium-ion battery, the TX utilizes a petrol range extender.
Central London is now home to an Ultra Low Emissions Zone, or ULEZ. The ULEZ operates 24-hours a day, seven days a week. Vehicles which do not meet the ULEZ's emissions standards are required to pay a daily charge to drive in the zone. Taxis with a London license are exempt from the charge, although there is a 15-year age limit for the vehicles.