Car Industry

London's new electric black cab avoids melting in the Arizona heat

The cars are as thoroughly tested as its drivers, but would you expect anything else?

London Taxi Company

The London Taxi Company is preparing to launch its all-new extended-range electric TX5 black cab, and to make sure it's ready to take whatever's thrown at it, it's sending test mules all the way to Arizona.

London doesn't exactly sport the same weather as Arizona, but according to the manufacturer, it's received interest in its new black cab from cities around the world. As such, it wants to make sure the TX5 can handle extremes. Throwing the car into some of the hottest weather in the world will certainly help prove that.

Oh, look, a black cab driving down London Street. It's almost like this picture was taken just for that purpose.

London Taxi Company

During this testing phase, LTC is running 300-mile loops, which is approximately triple the average daily mileage of a standard black cab, or enough to get between London and the Heathrow airport 20 times. The heat will also prove the battery's mettle, as high temperatures can put a strain on a vehicle's electric range, especially if the driver is blasting the AC at the same time.

Whereas previous black cabs featured a traditional internal combustion engine, this one packs an extended-range electric setup similar to that of the Chevrolet Volt. New regulations demand that new cab models must be capable of driving 30 miles without producing any emissions, so the TX5 should either meet or beat that amount. It's unclear if the gas engine will only ever charge the battery, or if it will also provide motive force.

With a tight turning radius and drivers that pack some serious knowledge of the roads around town, the black cab is a staple of London's streets. LTC has been manufacturing them for 69 years, and it will continue to do so thanks to a £300 million ($386 million) investment in this new model.

The cab's London-based drivers must pass a test called The Knowledge, which results in drivers who can navigate the entire city without the use of a map. The test has been around since 1865, and it's considered the world's most difficult cab-driver test, as it can take up to three years to complete.