'North of the Arctic Circle at this time of night, guv?' New 2018 London taxi spied

Published: 10 March 2017

► New London black cab scooped
► Hybrid taxi spied on winter test
► Fare scoop: new 2018 cab goes electric

It’s a fare cop: our snow merchants with the long lens hailed a different kind of spyshot this week, when they captured a London black taxi on winter test in northern Sweden.

Fully adorned in psychedelic camouflage, this is a prototype for the new London Taxi Company TX5, the future London cab.

We hear it’ll be pressed into service in late 2017 – in time for the new London mayor Sadiq Khan’s 2018 crackdown on diesel emissions, which insists that taxis must be capable of zero-emissions mode.

London Taxi TX5: she’s electric

The new black cab will sport a plug-in hybrid electric powertrain, letting it run as a pure EV until the battery is depleted – at which point an onboard generator kicks in to top up the battery.

London black cab: spied on winter test

It’s the same principle as a Chevrolet Volt or CAR magazine’s own BMW i3 REX long-term test car.

Transport for London estimated in 2013 that black taxis generate 15% of nitrogen oxides in the capital – as well as a quarter of particulate matter.

Why are they testing a London black cab in the Arctic?

Because this is a global product, with sales pitched for far-flung cities from London to Moscow, where temperatures regularly plummet far below zero.

It turns out that the strange Volvo XC90 test hack we spotted recently was in fact a mule for this London cab. Volvo owner Geely owns both brands, you see. It bought the London Taxi Company in 2013.

The new London taxi will be manufactured at a new £300 million factory in Coventry.

Now a PHEV plug-in hybrid: the London black cab TX5

By Tim Pollard

Group digital editorial director, motoring news magnet