‘Black to the future’ as traditional taxis go green in £50m Govt. boost for battery-powered vehicles (BPVs)

The company that makes the traditional black taxi cabs used in Edinburgh and Glasgow has opened a new £325 million BPV (battery powered vehicle) factory in Coventry.

China’s Geely company – which now owns the London Taxi Company – plans to make about 20,000 BPV taxis a year, creating up to 1,000 new jobs.

 As they work their way through the sales cycle, they will eventually run in the two main Scots cities, turning a full circle over 100 years of automotive manufacturing.

Meanwhile, Perth-based utility SSE is monitoring developments in the BPV market for the potential impact this will have on electricity supply.

Stewart Reid, Head of Asset Management and Innovation at Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN), explained:

“We’re working on creating and collaborating with other DNOs, National Grid, DECC and OFGEM on an industry-accepted solution for managing future BPV charging, in the form of an Engineering Recommendation.

“This includes overcoming the potential risk posed by ‘clustering’, which could cause issues on electrical networks long before large-scale adoption of EVs across the UK takes place.”

The first purpose-built motorised taxi was manufactured in 1897 – and remarkably it was a BPV.

Because of their bright livery and the sound of their engines, these were known as Hummingbirds – and, for a few years, were a familiar sight on the streets of London.

Sadly, the battery technology of the time could not compete against the petrol engine – and, in the 20th century, electric vehicles were pushed off the road.

Welcoming the new investment in taxi BPVs, British Business and Energy Minister Greg Clark also announcing a state boost for the company. He said:

“Electric vehicles must be seen as a reliable, mainstream option.

“I can think of no better demonstration than the electrification of the taxi – and not just any taxi, but the London black cab.

“If people see black cabs go green then they will know that all cars can do the same.

“So for all of these reasons the UK Government has identified the continuation of innovation in electric and other low emission vehicles as a key priority for our Industrial Strategy.

“And that is why we’re announcing £50 million to encourage taxi drivers to switch to cleaner greener vehicles.

“There will be up to £7,500 off the price of a new cab and £14 milliion worth of investment in dedicated charge point for electric taxis not just in London but in ten councils.”

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