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Hailing a New Cab: First Fleet of All-Electric Minicabs to Roll Out in London
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October 24, 2012

Hailing a New Cab: First Fleet of All-Electric Minicabs to Roll Out in London

By Cheryl Kaften
TMCnet Contributor

London’s first fleet of all-electric minicabs will be created by two companies that bring relevant talents to the table, or rather, the street: Rechargeable battery and electric vehicle (EV) manufacturer BYD, based in Shenzhen, China, and the London minicab service greentomatocars have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to test what they are calling the new BYD London eTaxi.

BYD, the fastest-growing Chinese car manufacturer that is pioneering hybrid and electric vehicles, will supply greentomatocars with 50 of its pure electric e6 models for trial use in Britain’s capital city. The BYD e6 is roomy, five-passenger-crossover, with ample luggage capacity. It is a zero-direct-emission EV, which means that it emits no harmful toxic emissions, criteria pollutants or harmful greenhouse gases.

The e6 features a 75 kilowatt (kW) motor and BYD’s own Fe (iron phosphate)battery, which gives the car a range of up to 186 miles on a single charge in urban conditions with a top speed of 87 miles per hour and excellent acceleration. The Fe battery can be fully charged and discharged for more than 4,000 cycles. The car has been extensively road-tested, having been driven a total of more than 14 million miles in key global markets.

greentomatocars is London’s second-largest quality minicab service and strives to use the most environmentally-friendly vehicles available in its fleet of 300 hybrids. It is expected that the 50 electric BYD e6 will be available for its customers to use from the second quarter of 2013.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, commented, “It is my aim that London's minicabs and taxis will be zero-emission by 2020, which will have a major impact on air quality. Every year the fleet is getting cleaner, making our city an even more attractive place to live, work and visit. Encouraging many more electric vehicles is a key part of this transformation, so it is great news that greentomatocars has committed to operating 50 of these super clean machines from next year.” 

The all-electric BYD e6 will be the model tested by greentomatocars as the ‘BYD London eTaxi.’

BYD Chairman Wang Chuanfu said, “We are delighted to supply greentomatocars with e6 vehicles that will create London’s first electric minicab fleet. The e6 has zero tailpipe emissions, so it avoids contributing to the city’s CO2 levels and results in cleaner air for Londoners.”

Jonny Goldstone, managing director of greentomatocars, added, “We are very pleased to be working with BYD on this project. As a partner company, BYD has shown great leadership to challenge the status quo, innovate and electrify mass transport - principles which go to the very heart of greentomatocars.”

Goldstone added, “As a car, we see strong parallels between the e6 of today and the then-unfashionable Toyota Prius of 2006. It’s exciting to think that, even as a five-car start-up [in 2006], we played a major role in making the Prius popular; given the scale, experience and high-tech infrastructure we now have at our disposal, we’d love to 'do a Prius' with the e6, and help propel electric vehicles into the automotive mainstream—where they deserve and, for all our sakes, need to be.”

BYD has also been supported in this deal by London & Partners, the Mayor’s official promotional organization for London.

Present at the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding were BYD Chairman Wang Chuanfu; BYD Senior Director Henry Li, BYD Europe Business Director Paul Lin; BYD EU Regional Manager Michael Miao; Co-founder and MD of greentomatocars, Jonny Goldstone; Co-founder of greentomatocars, Tom Pakenham; CEO UK and Ireland of Veolia Transdev, Nigel Stevens; and Marketing Manager of greentomatocars, Hamish Phillips.

Edited by Rachel Ramsey

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