The world’s most advanced electric taxis have started appearing on the streets of Corby.
The first range extended electric taxi has been handed over to a pair of drivers in the town – and they are now taking passengers.
The Midlands has historically been the home of taxi production in the UK – and LEVC (formerly known as The London Taxi Company) has built the hackney carriage in the region for the past 70 years.
Corby Borough Council’s Deputy Leader, Cllr Jean Addison, said: “We are extremely pleased to be licensing the first electric taxi in Corby and welcome all new clean, green drivers operating in our town. We hope this will be the first of many electric cabs to arrive in the town – with the rapid growth of the Corby’s charging network the main reason for drivers making the switch.”
The arrival of these purpose-built, electrically driven vehicles means that those travelling by taxi in Corby will now get to experience the greater comfort and safety that comes with a taxi designed and built by motoring experts from across the West Midlands. The new taxi, the TX, is already getting positive reviews – and the arrival of the vehicle will mean an improved passenger experience for those in the town.
Jack O’Donovan has worked in the Corby taxi trade since the 1990s, and decided to make the transition to an electric taxi after discovering the high number of charge points in the town. He will be double-shifting the vehicle with another cab driver, meaning the vehicle will be required to do hundreds of miles a day.
The TX uses technology which combines a small petrol generator known as a “range-extender”, with a class leading battery and proven electric powertrain. The TX has a range of up to 377 miles, including 80 miles electric range. The taxi is also the only electric cab to have installed the first ever 2 way radio system by Tranex, Rothwell-based radio specialists.
Jack has been praised by Tranex for coming up with the suggestion to fit a VHF radio data and voice system into one of the new vehicles. It was initially not known if the technologies would clash as LEVC had never had a request to fit one.
LEVC lent Tranex a demonstrator vehicle so Jack could test out the compatibility of the radio apparatus with the type in service with Sky Cabs and with the vehicle itself.
A full installation and live on-road, vehicle and radio RF testing was conducted in the Corby and surrounding areas after Jack was given permission to do so by Corby Council.
It is thought that Jack’s cab is the only one in the world to attempt this successfully.
It is expected that Jack will cut his carbon footprint by 7,000 tonnes of CO2 a year.
He said “I’ve known to be driving customers in the only green coloured diesel taxi in Corby for well over a decade now, so I’m incredibly proud to be the first driver of a REAL green electric cab.”
Jack is also hoping that any businesses or organisations in the area will get in touch with him, via Sky Cabs, to let him know if they have a charging point where he can re-juice his cab.
Chris Gubbey, CEO of LEVC said: “Our purpose-built, passenger focused taxi, has been designed with the intention of getting more people in the back of cabs – offering the safest, cleanest, quietest and smoothest taxi ride yet. We are delighted to have had the support of Corby drivers to deliver this vision for the taxi trade in Corby – and I look forward to hearing about how they all get on in the new cab.”