News : New Metrocab ready for trials

Carole Nash Classic Insurance Specialists

Andrew Elphick

London’s unflappable Mayor Boris Johnson, gives the Metrocab the thumbs up.
London’s unflappable Mayor, Boris Johnson, gives the Metrocab the thumbs up

Frazer-Nash Research Limited and partner Ecotive Limited have announced the imminent launch of the new ‘Electric’ Metrocab. The purpose-built Taxi is described as a ‘range-extender EV’ – a fully-electric battery vehicle fitted with a small petrol engine that acts a generator (of electricity) when needed. A similar traction principle underpins the Vauxhall Ampera/Chevrolet Volt.

Designed, engineered and built in Mytchett, Surrey, UK, Metrocab claims that the new cab has the potential to achieve 75mpg and can be charged conventionally via a domestic three-pin household plug. The new vehicle can carry up to six paying passengers while zero emissions are promised when in full EV mode. However, the real test for the new London Taxi challenger will start with the London Public Carriage Office (PCO) rules test for fitness as a private hire vehicle.

That’s about rather more than just meeting the 25-feet radius turning circle – if the Metrocab can’t cut it in London traffic, will it be game over for the LTC challenger?

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22 Comments

  1. A million times better looking than these horrid mini bus derived cabs.

    Had my usual fight with the Taxi drivers at Birmingham airport, insisting on taking the first proper cab and not the crap that was parked in front of it.

    I have two rules, always choose a Metro Cab or LTI and always thank and tip the driver of a new LTI cab for buying something built in my native city of Coventry. I find London Taxi drivers are a lot more passionate about choosing the local product than those in Birmingham, which I guess explains a lot about the decline of that city.

  2. I like this Taxi, shame a buffoon like Boris is tainting it, maybe he could shed some light on why the Vito was chosen as the Hackney carriage of choice for London and the conflict of interest his tory colleague has rubber stamping this vehicle given that it has higher Nox emissions than the older Taxis.

    Would that be because his pal is on the board of the suppliers of the Vito Taxi?

  3. B & C words both applicable to Boris, another one of the government cronies [Eton & Balliol educated don’t ya know]. Would like to have seen more of the car and less of the blonde buffoon [I’m being polite there] although actually, he’s a very smart person who has made a fortune pretending to be a loveable buffoon.

    Like the looks, especially in two-tone livery. Like the electonic instruments (Honda, can you put something similar into the Civic please instead of the pathetic digital speedo).

    British built product, good luck with it. Hopefully quieter than the old one!

  4. 4
    Funnily enough nobody forced the cabbies (with their own money) to buy the Vito, they chose to buy it, presumably because it’s nicer to drive than a TX4 and more reliable. I’ve seen plenty of new TX4s recently since production restarted anyway.

    And if you were going to get ANYONE to drive your new cab, I’d have thought the Mayor of London would be the perfect person, whichever party they belong to

  5. Mercedes, KPM and Rear Wheel Steering

    It appears that the Mercedes Vito is still having problems with the rear wheel steering even after the upgrade, it seems that the activators are still playing up even after KPM have upgraded the system as it appears that the activators are not part of the upgrade. One driver has reported that now his vehicle is out of warranty that KPM want over £400 + VAT to replace the activators and only offer a 3 month warranty with them!

    Now if KPM are fitting new activators how can they get away with only offering a 3 month warranty on the parts? Surely all new parts carry a 12 month warranty, obviously KPM have no confidence in their own parts otherwise they would have no hesitation in offering 1 years warranty on these activators!

    See more at: Super Cabby

  6. It’s good to see our mayor continuing to take an interest in trade and inductry whilst also promoting London – both to the advantage of real jobs for local people. It’s such a welcome change from his bitter and destructive predecessor.

    The vehicle itself looks like what is expected – a modern take on a classic and iconic vehicle. I am sure that London cabbies would rather buy British – as long as the product is comfortable, reliable, durable and economical.

  7. Really interesting vehicle, A bit low key for launch but if its as good as the new London bus then fingers crossed for them. I hope they can make a success story. No mention of how much it will cost, that will decide its future against running costs.
    Don’t Frazer Nash now own Bristol?

  8. @12

    The new London Bus is a success story for Co Antrim bus company Wrightbus.
    I was in Vegas last year and was surprised to see one of their tram-buses doing the rounds!
    (Also surprised to see some ex-London double deckers doing the rounds, complete with UK plates still fixed!)

    Nissan, not to be outdone, has revealed their NV200 with a vaguely FX-4 like front end:
    http://www.autocar.co.uk/car-news/new-cars/nissan-nv200-taxi-london-revealed

    It looks like one of those Japanese conversions of a Micra/March…

  9. @13
    Just looked at your link for the Nissan. It does look like a Japanese take on the London Cab….interesting but not as pretty as the new Metrocab or FX4 and definitely not a fabulous as the London bus, that will be a classic in time.

  10. Is this the right technology for a London cab. Are they not on the road for nearly 24 hours a day? If so when will the battery get charged up?

  11. Looks like a modern take on a classic design. Hope that it proves to be reliable and a good seller. If they have any sense they will also try and export it also.

  12. I like this and its good to see a new British product.

    For those blaming the hideous Vitos on Boris – bad luck but it was approved during the term of his predecessor Ken Livingstone who seemed to love useless Mercedes (the unreliable and unsuitable bendy buses were on his watch as well).

    As for the Nissan it looks awful but as it is not made in the UK its no surprise the BBC seem to love it.

  13. @19
    I’m no fan of this hard left tosser, but I think he was more involved in the environmental legislation regarding Taxis, but do correct me if I am wrong.

    More pertinent is the fact that Addison Lee was bunging the Tories and Nicholas Greening MP had a conflict of interest with companies involved in supplying the Vito’s.

  14. @20 Addison Lee are a different animal to the licensed taxis altogether and have been trying and failing to get concessions for years from all sides – that said they do a good service and I have used them a lot over the years.

    The Vitos are just not right in my view – whatever the political context – and made me use Addison Lee even more as I would not pay a premium for a converted bread van

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