Skip to main content

120 years later, fully electric black cabs are back in London

Photo Courtesy of Dynamo Motor Co.

The Dynamo, the newest member of the exclusive London Black Cab fleet, has a big job ahead of itself. It has to clean up air quality and keep people moving all at the same time. The Black Cab fleet currently has about 20,000 vehicles, however, many of those are diesel-powered and Mayor Sadiq Khan believes that these diesel cabs are one of the leading contributors to the poor air quality in London.

Based on a Nissan e-NV200 van chassis, the Dynamo can travel 187 miles on a single charge. But they are not cheap, running about 56,000 pounds, however, there is a government-assisted grant of 7,500 pounds to help drivers who change over from the dirty diesel to the electric black cab. Altogether there is 42 million pounds available to aid in the conversion. Additionally, new rules now mandate zero-emission vehicles to be operated in the city center.

Back in 1899, the first all-electric black cab took to the streets of London, it was called the Bersey, it was competing against horse-drawn taxis and it did not last long. The Bersey only ran from 1897 to 1899. 120 years later all-electric returns to the busy streets of London.

The Dynamo taxi is equipped with Vehicle Dynamic Control that continuously monitors how the cabbie is driving, it will sense under and over-steering, and help compensate by reducing speed or applying braking to a specific wheel, keeping the driver and passengers safe. The power is supplied by an 80-kilowatt motor that propels the cab from zero to 60 in 14 seconds with a maximum speed of 76 mph. It is built for comfort, not speed.

Within London, there are several charging suppliers such as Source London, ESB, Ecotricity, and E-Volt. Any of these will fully charge the Dynamo in 40 to 60 minutes or less depending on your remaining charge left in the batteries. A charging unit that comes with the vehicle can be fitted in a residence or a business. The charger must be installed by a professional, however, there are government grants to help pay for the expense.

Over time, the air quality in central London is expected to improve with the conversion and as the diesel taxis start going out of service.

Editors' Recommendations

John Elkin
Worked for many off road and rally and sports car publications throughout the 1980s and 1990s. Decided to go look for a…
Cruise says it’s nearing approval for mass production of futuristic robotaxi
Interior of Cruise's Origin vehicle.

Robotaxi company Cruise is “just days away” from getting regulatory approval that would pave the way for mass production of its purpose-built driverless vehicle, CEO Kyle Vogt said on Thursday in comments reported by the Detroit Free Press.

General Motors-backed Cruise unveiled the vehicle -- called Origin -- in early 2020, presenting the kind of driverless car that we all dreamed of when R&D in the sector kicked off years ago; a vehicle without a steering wheel and without pedals. A vehicle with passenger seats only.

Read more
Modern cars are a privacy nightmare, and there’s no way to opt out
Elon Musk smirks while pointing.

Cars are changing, and quickly. Electric cars are on the rise, and at the same time, manufacturers are pushing autonomous driving technologies -- even if we're still a while away from actual self-driving cars. But there are other aspects about cars that are changing too -- the fact that they're becoming increasingly connected, and increasingly computer-controlled. And, with all the data that cars can collect, privacy is becoming increasingly important.

Turns out, however, cars aren't that great at preserving your privacy. In fact, they're terrible at it.

Read more
The state of EV chargers in the U.S. right now: We have a long way to go
What a future Mercedes-Benz EV charging hub might look like.

Charging is changing in the U.S. -- and quickly. Tesla has all but won the war for the standard charging connector, meaning that charging will likely get a whole lot more convenient in the near future. But on top of that, charging networks are also expanding -- with the likes of Mercedes-Benz jumping in on the action.

Earlier this year, Mercedes announced that it would be building charging stations in partnership with MN8 Energy. More recently, it shared that it was finally planning on opening up the first of these stations in October.

Read more