London’s world-famous black cabs are going green. A new all-electric taxi, capable of travelling up to 187 miles on a single charge, was unveiled this week.
Called The Dynamo, it’s based on a Nissan van and is designed to replace the 20,000 diesel-powered cabs currently plying their trade on the streets.
Clean air campaigners hope these zero-emission vehicles will soon spread to other towns and cities across the UK.
A new all-electric taxi, capable of travelling up to 187 miles on a single charge, was unveiled this week
London already has around 2,500 petrol-electric hybrid taxis, but this will be the first licensed cab to run entirely on battery power.
That’s if you don’t count The Bersey, an all-electric taxi from 1897. Seventy-five were built but they failed to catch on because cabbies back then preferred the horse- drawn alternative.
Traffic speed in London is now slower than it was at the end of the 19th century when real horsepower was the predominant method of propulsion.
According to Transport for London, diesel cabs account for 16 per cent of all nitrogen oxide emissions, so replacing them with electric will do wonders for air quality.
The Dynamo isn’t cheap. It costs more than £55,000, although early adopters will be able to claim back a £7,500 subsidy from the Government.
The Mayor of London has allocated £42 million in grants to encourage taxi drivers to make the switch.
The Dynamo is based on a Nissan van and is designed to replace the 20,000 diesel-powered cabs currently plying their trade on the streets
Clean air campaigners hope these zero-emission vehicles will soon spread to other towns and cities across the UK
If enough cabbies can be persuaded to trade in their old taxis, it will be the biggest shock to the system since Bob Dylan went electric in 1965.
London’s black cab drivers are notoriously suspicious of change. It’s not just the initial cost of The Dynamo they’re worried about, it’s the relatively limited range between charges.
What does ‘up to’ 187 miles mean in practice, given the need to power not just the engine but the air conditioning/heater, radio, meter, electric windows and so forth?
How quickly will the battery run down when the cab is stuck on The Embankment, or stranded at London’s sluggish traffic lights?
What the all-electric taxi needs is an evangelical salesman firmly committed to the green agenda. Who better than London’s only ‘woke’ cabbie?
Yesterday, this column hailed the first Dynamo and took a ride into the future . . .
Afternoon, guv. Where to? Here, don’t I know you? You’re, um, him. Aren’t you? No, don’t tell me. It’s on the tip of my wossname.
I never forget a face. I’ve seen you on TV. Not lately, though. Been away, have you? I’ve got it. You’re one of them Hatton Garden safety deposit box robbers.
Oh, sorry, no offence.
Anyway, how do you like the motor? Well, I say motor, it hasn’t got a motor actually. All-electric, since you ask. Just taken delivery. First one in London.
Cost an arm and a leg, but it’s worth every penny if it helps save the polar bears.
Does 0-60 in, well I’m not sure, to tell the truth. I never get much above 10mph in London, what with the bus and cycle lanes. Not that I’m complaining, mind. All helps to cut down the carbon footprint.
I’m very big on the environment, me. Someone’s got to set an example. Say what you like about Uber, but at least they use them Toyota Pious hybrids.
I had that Swampy in the back of my cab once. Didn’t half pen and ink, but he meant well. You won’t find me droning on about Extinction Rebellion.
Took me three hours to get across Lambeth Bridge the other day. Had a passenger headed for Victoria on his way to Gatwick. Missed his train, and his plane, obviously. But, you know what they say, every cloud.
I had the meter running all the time, racked up over 200 quid, just for a couple of miles. That’s what I call a result.
Still, you can’t deny there’s a climate emergency. Have you been down the Blackwall Tunnel lately? Like the Black Hole of Calcutta.
Sorry, squire, I didn’t mean to be racist, like. Some of my best friends and all that. Anyway, I think Calcutta’s called Mumbai, or something, these days.
Where would we be without immigration, eh? No hospital porters, no nurses, no Mutton Madras down the Star of Bengal. Let ’em all in, that’s what I say.
And don’t get me started on Brexit. I voted Remain, me. Cor, that Anna Soubry. She’s a sort, ain’t she? I would, but don’t tell the missus, ha, ha.
Stands to reason, dunnit? Where would we be without the environmental protection laws from Brussels? And the Yuman Rites Act. Next thing you know, people would be wanting to bring back hanging.
I’d string up everyone who voted Leave. It’s the only language they understand. Hope you won’t mind if we don’t go south of the river for once? I’m trying to save on the battery. They say it does 187 miles on a full charge, but you can’t be too careful.
You’re only my second fare of the day and I’m already down to half that. Yesterday it packed up altogether after a couple of hours, came to a complete standstill in the middle of Piccadilly.
The Old Bill tried to move me on, but I told them I was from Extinction Rebellion, so they left me alone.
If it’s all right with you, guv, if you’re not in a hurry, I thought we’d go via Oxford Circus, so we can take a butcher’s at that pink yacht.
Speaking of butchers, I had to drop a punter off at Smithfield Market last week. The Extinction Rebellion crowd were staging a sit-in to stop the sale of meat.
Good for them, that’s what I say. I’m thinking of going vegan myself, giving up meat altogether. Well, except for the odd Mutton Madras, of course. Don’t want to put the old Star of Bengal out of business.
Petrol stations, though, that’s another kettle of cod altogether. The oil companies are killing the planet. I won’t be happy until every petrol station in Britain is closed down.
Hold up. What’s that red light flashing? Oh, gawd, it’s the low battery warning. One mile to empty. Sorry, guv, do you mind hanging on for a few hours while I find a recharging point and plug in?
There’s no need to take that attitude. I’m doing this for your children and grandchildren.
I had that Greta Thunberg in the back of my cab . . .
Brian Jackson as the Man from Del Monte
The Man From Del Monte, he say: Oi, Bercow, No!
One of the funniest complaints I ever received was after I compared Gordon Brown to Don Partridge, the one-man band who had a couple of Top Ten hits in the Sixties with Rosie and Blue Eyes.
At the time, Gordon had just become Prime Minister and was playing all the instruments, announcing policy on everything from the bank rate to bird flu.
Shortly afterwards, I heard from a deeply offended Don Partridge, asking me to desist from mentioning him in connection with Gordon Brown.
In Tuesday’s column, I described John Bercow as The Man From Del Monte in reverse, because he always says ‘No’ to any attempt to honour the Leave vote.
The next day, I had a call from a spokesman for Del Monte complaining about being associated ‘negatively’ with the Speaker.
Is there a way of being associated positively with the Gurning Gargoyle?
Even The Man From Del Monte, he say: B@££@&#$ To Bercow!