Transport for London has licensed the new Metrocab to carry fare-paying passengers in London
Mytchett, Surrey, 10 February 2015
Frazer-Nash Research and Ecotive, the makers of the all-new Metrocab, are proud to confirm that the Metrocab has become the first zero-emission-capable taxi to be licensed by Transport for London to operate on a trial basis as a London Hackney Carriage.
The first few Metrocabs are already on the streets of London transporting fare-paying customers around the capital for the first time.
New video showing first customer reactions to the Metrocab released today
Mytchett, Surrey, 19th March 2015 – The all-new Metrocab, from makers Frazer-Nash Research Ltd and Ecotive Ltd, which has been operating on a pilot fleet basis in London since November 2014, is proving very popular with its’ first customers, as depicted in a new video released today,
The new Metrocab is driven by two independent brushless electric motors. A small petrol engine, coupled with a generator - the ‘Range Extender’ - is used to recharge the battery pack or provide power directly to the motors.
Plug-in charging is also achieved via any mains outlet when the taxi is off duty.
Zero-emissions in electric mode and regenerative braking all ensure a low fuel consumption through the course of the working day.
Achieving 99.4 mpg on the ECE101 Cycle, this technologically efficient taxi offers greater economic benefits for the driver and operator.
Safety & Comfort
As pollution levels rise over major cities, governments are looking to more energy efficient, low emission, modes of transport.
The new Metrocab boasts an incredible environmental record, exceeding current standards. Metrocab can operate with zero emissions, giving it a range of well over 50 miles on its battery pack only.
In Range Extender low-emission mode, the new Metrocab produces less than 50g/KM of CO2 – significantly better than any other vehicle in the market.
Performance figures that entitles Metrocab owners to a wide range of tax breaks and government grants.
FAQ for Cabbies.
Earlier this year, Metrocab staff engaged in a Q&A session on taxi driver forums and discussion boards. We have now summarised some of the answers given.
As there is still unreleased information, we hope this ‘FAQ for Cabbies’ helps interested drivers get a better understanding of our vehicle and programme.
The New Metrocab is very real and is in operation as we speak. Many of you will have seen one of the Metrocabs driving around London, and some of you have already driven them.
The technology all works, and has been tested for almost a decade on various test mules and prototype vehicles and covered hundreds of thousands of miles.
Yes, we are very much real. We are part of a group of companies with a history going back nearly 100 years, and consisting of a number of successful organisations.
You all know Bristol Cars with the famous showroom in Kensington – we bought Bristol in 2011 and are bringing back to market new cars and a new lease of life for this historic brand.
Frazer-Nash is our core research and development company and customers of the advanced hybrid systems include major car companies from the Far East and Europe.
One of our companies is a carbon fibre supplier to almost all of the Formula 1 teams based in the UK, and to the MoD.
We are also involved in energy storage and management technologies for a variety of applications.
The vehicle has electric motors (the drive system), a lithium battery, and a 1 litre internal combustion engine fuelled by petrol which is connected to an electrical generator.
The vehicle drive is 100% electric, 100% of the time. The drive system drives the rear wheels independently. The energy for this comes from the “traction battery”. When the battery is discharged, the vehicle will automatically start the internal combustion engine.
The internal combustion engine revs at the most efficient speed, and is permanently connected to the generator. The generator generates electricity and this recharges the battery.
This happens automatically while you are driving – there is no “downtime” necessary to allow the vehicle to recharge. This is important. We do not believe a pure battery-electric vehicle which requires plug-in charging will meet your requirements.
There are several modes of operation. For best fuel efficiency, plug the car into a charging station (we provide one in the boot that connects to your domestic mains) and charge the battery.
Depending on your electricity tariff, this should cost you about 50p (at night) to £1 (during the day). This allows you to drive the car for a bit more than 30 miles, after which the engine will turn on automatically and recharge the battery using the petrol in the petrol tank. You will not have any interruption in service.
The Metrocab does not need to be plugged in. Plugging-in to charge will improve your MPG (some energy to drive will come from the grid). But if you can’t, the vehicle will always operate in the “Range-Extender Mode” with the petrol engine charging the battery.
You will still see significant fuel savings in this mode of operation when compared to a conventional vehicle.
As noted above, we believe that a pure battery-electric vehicle is not suitable for the rigours of a taxi service. You just need to fill up the 22 litre tank at the petrol station like normal. Even with only 22 litres you will see an improvement in range over conventional cars.
This is the purpose of the London Trial, and any subsequent Trials that may follow – so we can get your feedback, and roll it in to the production vehicle.
We have already taken some comments from drivers and made changes in the Trial Metrocabs.
The Metrocab is a bespoke taxi. It is being designed for the cab trade. It is not a conversion of another vehicle.
Before we commit to final production tooling, we want feedback from the trade, our customers; the passengers; and our regulator(s), including Transport for London to make sure the Metrocab is fit for purpose and is “future-proofed”.
This is a very unusual strategy. A big carmaker would not run a vehicle publically in this way, nor would it engage with its customers so directly. However, we are not a big carmaker!
We depend on you, on your customers and on our regulator – and need to make sure we are manufacturing the right vehicle. So we will run the Trial in London for a few months and collect feedback.
We have implemented several mechanisms to collect data, and if you are one of our selected drivers you will be aware of these. We may at a later date expand the Trial to other cities in the UK.
Some would have seen the Trial Metrocabs going to the test centre in Heston for CoF assessments.
The Metrocab has been designed to meet the CoF – including the turning circle. It is not a converted car or van.
We are very pleased to say that the vehicles have been assessed and TfL have issued the Metrocab license plates as of a couple of months ago.
Of course we support the initiatives to reduce emissions in London, some of us live there! We are working very closely with TfL (as I’m sure the other taxi manufacturers are) in the ULEZ consultation and have no doubt that the Metrocab will be ULEZ-compatible from the moment it is released.
On a practical note, we understand there are a lot of concerns about the ULEZ in the Trade. It is worth pointing out, that with a newer, more fuel efficient, zero-emissions capable taxi like the Metrocab, you can save potentially thousands of pounds per year.
One study undertaken by one of our investors suggested a driver switching from a well-known competitor to a Metrocab could see a first-year savings in the region of £9000 in fuel, servicing, and taxes, depending on how they drive.
We anticipate a longer service interval when compared to a conventional vehicle. The electric motors, the batteries, and the power electronics do not need servicing.
The internal combustion engine will require the usual oil and filter changes, but as it is only on to drive the generator, the servicing is based on engine hours instead of on miles. Otherwise there are the usual consumables (wipers and brake pads etc). Brakes will wear less because the Metrocab has regenerative braking (where energy from braking is stored as electrical energy in the battery).
We are working on setting up the infrastructure for when the vehicle goes on sale – by that we mean there will be a service centre in London itself to start, with all the appropriate tools and training.
There are numerous concerns over the lifespan of the “traction battery” as it’s known. In a range-extender vehicle like ours the battery sees less “abuse” than in a battery-only vehicle.
This means that the battery is better taken care of. We are aware that in some experiments overseas, battery-only vehicles suffer from range reduction after relatively short periods of time. This is again why we do not believe in a battery-electric solution.
Our battery will be good for years. We cannot comment exactly on what the warranty will be. We know we have to have the confidence of our customers to succeed!
Finally, it’s worth reminding you again that the Metrocab doesn’t depend on the battery – there is always the petrol engine.
We are unable to specify a figure on replacement cost at this moment- expect a detailed announcement on things like this prior to the general release of the Metrocab.
As noted, the battery will undergo a less arduous duty cycle than in a battery-only electric vehicle so will last for years. Apologies for being so vague, we have spent many years working on this and have a lot of intellectual property associated with maintenance of the battery over its service life, so we want to release this information in a comprehensive way further down the line.
The Metrocab will be manufactured in the UK and all the engineering has been undertaken in the UK. The UK (and the world generally) has got a massive excess of car production capacity at the moment in the region of millions of cars, so we will work to take up some of that excess with production partners.
We are working to bring the Metrocab to market with a major worldwide automotive Tier 1 supplier who has a turnover of circa £600 million and who is a major player in manufacturing in the UK. Put it this way, most cars manufactured in the UK have at least some components from this supplier in them.
- Huge savings in fuel bills, taxes, and servicing.
- A more comfortable, ergonomic driving position.
- Plenty of torque from the electric motors for a quick drive – max speed is limited to 80mph.
- A more refined ride with the electric drive and with self-levelling air suspension.
- USB charging for you, and WiFi.
- More storage space.
- LED lights all round including daytime running lights and main/dipped beams for a more distinctive look and energy saving.
- Wheelchair access from both sides – and a kneel function too (the normal floor height is better than TfL’s requirement – the kneel function brings the floor even lower!).
- Space for 6 passengers and their luggage – option for a front passenger.
- Finally, something that is a hackney carriage – but with a modern look.
We will be continuing with the London Trial - On completion we will then look into expanding the trial to other UK and worldwide cities to continue to gather feedback from drivers and passengers.
Regarding the general release, initially we are looking to launch the Metrocab into the London market with the view of eventually introducing the cab to certain other cities on a global scale.
Over the next few months we will run through the Trial. We will take the feedback in and roll it into our final engineering design. There will be vehicles starting to hit the road from late 2015/early 2016, and they will become readily available by end 2016.
As to the price, unfortunately we are not at liberty to tell you right now, but we can say this – it will be less expensive than some of the higher price rumours circulating at the moment. We are aware if it is too expensive they will not sell and are working hard to bring the cost down.
The Metrocab will be in the same ballpark as the competition, and this will be before government incentives. We are also lobbying hard to ensure that the plug-in grant will not only just apply but will hopefully by increased in value because of the high impact of a zero-emissions capable vehicle in a city centre.
Specifications correct at the time of publication. Metrocab policy is one of continuous product development. The right is reserved to change specifcations at any time. E&OE
- Range extended electric vehicle
- Capable of zero emission operation
- Vehicle health diagnostics and status telemetry system
- Overall length: 4,905mm
- Overall width: 1,800mm
- Overall height: 1,925mm
- Wheel base: 3,181mm
- Kerb: 1,750kg
- Gross: 2,515kg
- Driver multi-function touch screen display and instrument cluster with colour display
- Passenger colour TV display
- USB charging socket
- Digital infotainment system
- Hands free telephone
- Air conditioning and heating
- Anti-lock braking system (ABS)
- 3-seater rear bench seat - fore/aft adjustable for more luggage space when required
- 3 rear facing flip down seats
- 1 optional front passenger seat
- Full wheelchair access with integrated wheelchair ramp
- Panoramic glass roof
- Mood Lighting
- Air suspension
- Top speed: 80mph (Restricted)
- Max gradient: 1:3
- Emissions: <50g/km CO2
- Turning circle: 7.62m
- Regenerative braking
- Peak motor power: 2 x 50kW
- Peak wheel torque: 2 x 1,400Nm
- 1 litre petrol range-extender engine coupled to generator unit
- Fuel efficient urban and highway generating modes
- Meets Euro 5 emission standards
- Lithium-ion polymer large format cells
- Stored capacity: 12.2kWh
- 3kW on board charging
The London Trial begins.
The Sign-up for the trial of the Metrocab is officially closed. We thank all applicants for registering their interest in the London trial.
The response has been overwhelming and we are currently going through the selection process. Only the successful applicants will be contacted directly.
We appreciate that the Metrocab is an extremely favourable product in the current market and there is a continuous request for further information; rest assured we will continue to keep you up-to-date through our website and via twitter @MetrocabUK
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Due to the huge amount of interest in the new Metrocab, we cannot reply to every message - but we do read them all and value your comments.
© 2015, Ecotive Ltd.