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Range-extended electric Metrocab gets 2014 London trial

Designed, engineered and built by Ecotive and Frazer-Nash Research, the new Metrocab is said to be ready for market and, following its London trial, will be rolled out globally.

It uses Frazer-Nash’s Range-Extended Electric Drivetrain (REEP), which features electric motors at each rear wheel supplied by a lithium ion battery and a small petrol engine working as a generator – a similar system to the Chevrolet Volt and Vauxhall/Opel Ampera.

In the Metrocab, this is claimed to offer fuel economy in excess of 75mpg and the drivetrain can also be adapted to work with a hydrogen fuel cell instead of the range extender. Ecotive said the individual motors also allow better traction control than a mechanical differential in a conventional car. Early trials suggested CO2 emissions of less than 50g/km on a typical urban taxi duty cycle.

Just as importantly, there’s said to be no compromise in flexibility for taxi operators. Pricing will be competitive, the company said, and the vehicle is fully compliant with the London Public Carriage Office’s regulations for taxis and private hire vehicles, featuring six passenger seats, a panoramic glasshouse, a large boot and disabled accessibility.

Speaking at a private unveiling, Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: ‘Ecotive, with technical expertise from Frazer-Nash, has designed a unique and purpose-built new Metrocab taxi for London with zero-emissions capabilities, which is exactly the type of vehicle I would be delighted to see entering the market.’

Metrocab chairman Sir Charles Masefield added: ‘The Metrocab represents a revolution in the market as the first electric-powered cab to meet the typical high-mile duty cycle of a taxi, and which is ready now.  

‘Our range extended drivetrain technology offers the solution world-class cities are looking for, and we are confident Metrocab will make a real impact in the market and provide a better service to cities, drivers and passengers alike.’

Alex Grant

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