London Taxi Gets Plug-in Hybrid Makeover

hybrid-london-taxi-4Major cities around the world are having to contend with some serious pollution and congestion issues, and a variety of solutions are needed to combat the problem. London mayor Boris Johnson recently said that he wants all metro taxis to be zero-emissions capable by 2018, coinciding nicely with the reveal of a plug-in hybrid taxi built by Britain’s own Frazer-Nash.

While Frazer-Nash is better known as an old-school sports car builder and Porsche importer, the engineering company recently took on the task of building a better taxicab. Many of London’s iconic black cabs are due for replacement, having mostly to do with the poor fuel economy of the many non-hybrid models used, and companies like Nissan have offered fairly lame replacements.

But Frazer-Nash has managed to keep the iconic look, while adding in an impressive 21st century drivetrain. Two 50kW electric motors at the rear wheels draw power from a 12.2 kWh bate, which is charged by a Euro-emissions-compliant 1.0 liter, three-cylinder gasoline engine. The result is a 75 MPGe taxi cab with a tight, 25-foot turning radius and triple the fuel efficiency of many of Britain’s black cabs. London’s government is employing double-decker hybrid buses as well, which is just another small part of a massive green makeover for the ancient British city.

Hybrid cabs make a ton of sense, from both a business and an environmental point of view, and it’s a shame it often takes an act of government to get private businesses on board. The Frazer-Nash taxi sounds promising, and looks like a worthy 21st century success to a London icon.


Christopher DeMorro

A writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs, can be found wrenching or writing- or else, he's running, because he's one of those crazy people who gets enjoyment from running insane distances.