New technology can be intimidating; the fear of the unknown and the sheer volume of misinformation propagated over social media and the wider internet can lead to some pretty extreme beliefs. We put some of the most common questions to our panel of experts to set the record straight.
To find out more about the electric taxi tweet @AskLEVC today or book your test drive here
Does the battery catch fire in a crash?
The TX battery is protected against extreme heat by a tough metal casing. In an event of an accident, the automatic safety systems will completely disable all high voltage hazards in under a second of an impact being detected, preventing any electrical fault from creating a risk of fire.
Is the high voltage battery safe?
The high voltage control system monitors the electrical circuits hundreds of times every second to check all of the high voltage components, the electrical connectivity and the connector sealing, are all within safe-working parameters. If any possible fault is detected, such as unintended tampering, the system is shut down to prevent injury.
How strong is the body structure?
Pound for pound, Aluminium absorbs twice as much energy as mild-steel, effectively dissipating the forces experienced in a crash. We use hot-cured adhesive to bond our body structure together, a process more than twice as strong as welding that allows long, consistent contact across the entire joint. Similar technology has been used successfully in aerospace and sports cars for over 20 years. Is the panoramic roof safe? The panoramic roof creates a light and breezy atmosphere in the passenger compartment, and gives passengers a new perspective on the city.
The thick, laminated glass is similar to that used for the windscreen. It contains a special tinting layer that block 95% of emitted light energy entering the cabin, helping to keep the interior at a comfortable temperature. Due to its location, it is also far less susceptible to damage than a windscreen - and if the worse should happen it is far quicker and easier to replace than a traditional roof panel, minimising repair costs.
What about the potential for battery theft?
As well as its inaccessible location beneath the vehicle, the battery pack weighs almost 350kg. There are 35 different fixings, as well as the exhaust, high voltage wiring and cooling system, that would need to be disconnected before removal. Without specialised equipment and a vehicle lift, removal of the battery is virtually impossible.
80 miles electric range? But the Tesla can do 200+ miles.
Our battery has been chosen because it is an appropriate size to cover most taxi driver’s daily usage. Bigger batteries are required in high-performance passenger vehicles to ensure adequate real-world range is maintained when the power available is utilised.
Bigger batteries mean more cost and more weight, reducing the efficiency and running cost advantages of the electric taxi. The battery we have opted for allows us to operate more competitively in our market sector.
Will I need to replace the battery?
The new TX’s battery incorporates state of the art cell technology. Small improvements to battery technology will be out-paced by the growing availability of rapid charging infrastructure, so for the mid-term we don’t anticipate developing any significant improvements to the electric range.
How long will it take to charge the battery?
The TX boasts the most flexible on-board charging system on the market, allowing drivers to fully utilise all home and onstreet charging charge points. Typical full charge times are as follows: Home Slow (7Kw) – 3 hours 30 mins On-street Fast (11Kw) –2 hours 15 mins On-street Fast (22Kw) – 1 hour 15 mins On-street Rapid (50KW) – 30 mins
Is there enough on-street charging infrastructure available? There are currently 13,500 charging points in the UK, with more being installed daily. LEVC are also working with local authorities and government regulators to install dedicated taxi infrastructure. For example, TFL promises to install 300 dedicated charge points by the end of 2019. There are a variety of apps, such as Zap-Map, which allow users to filter charge points by location, connector type and speed.
How do I charge overnight?
LEVC have a partnered with Chargemaster to provide a onestop solution for home-charging.
For those who do not have access to off-street parking, the On-street Residential Charge Point Scheme helps local authorities to support drivers with no access to off-street home charging.
How can you guarantee the quality of the vehicle?
The new TX has been designed and built from the ground up, using the latest technology by a hugely-experienced team of experts recruited from across the automotive industry and with the benefit of our unrivalled experience in the taxi trade.
Our brand new, purpose-built facility in Ansty has been constructed with the same approach, with the best equipment, processes and systems dedicated to ensuring unrivalled quality.
The new TX has undergone the most extensive testing and development we’ve ever undertaken; in fact the new TX has completed more test mileage than all of our previous models put together!
How has the vehicle been tested?
Our team of development engineers are based at Horiba MIRA, the most comprehensive vehicle test facility in the UK. More than 80 prototype vehicles over the last three years, adapting industry best practise to the specific requirements of a taxi. The TX has also been subject to road tests in some of the most extreme environments in the world, from the deserts of Arizona to the Arctic Circle.
The next stage of this test programme is to hand the vehicle over to London taxi drivers for real-world feedback from drivers and passengers.
What quality assurances take place?
Our Customer Acceptance Team Area work from a dedicated Quality Centre within our Ansty factory. Here they verify that every vehicle has been built to process and is fault free before leaving the facility. They have access to the very latest testing facilities such as a wheel and headlight alignment rig, rolling-road, ‘squeak and rattle’ test track, ‘monsoon’ water test, sophisticated electrical test equipment, vehicle lifts and high-intensity lighting.
Is the TX affordable?
Electricity is considerably cheaper than diesel, so drivers can expect to save up to £100 per week on fuel costs by adopting new, electric eCity technology. The PCP finance deal for the TX ensures an affordable weekly payment, with no separate battery lease, and a comprehensive warranty package provides peace of mind. To see how much you could potentially save on fuel, compare the cost of running your current taxi to the cost of running a TX here.
Are there any subsidies available?
In London, TfL are implementing a de-commissioning grant for taxis between 10 and 15 years old. Owners of these taxis can receive up to £5000 off the price of the new electric taxi. This is in addition to the £7,500 plug-in taxi included within the advertised On the Road price. Learn more about the incentives and grants which have been made available to support the TX here.
How much will it cost to charge?
The cost of charging from home will depend on your electricity provider, but it will cost less than £3 to fully recharge the battery from empty overnight.
Like petrol, the price of electricity depends on the provider and location of the charge point, but at current Central London prices it costs between £4.88 and £7.21 for a full charge.
How much will it cost to maintain?
The motor which propels TX has very few serviceable parts and the range-extender only operates as necessary. This means there is far less mechanical wear, allowing us to extend the service intervals compared to a traditional diesel engine and therefore reduce the cost.
Our Aftersales partner Unipart will continue to supply spare parts, with 7,000 references provided in an easy to use catalogue. The LEVC approved service network are provided with the necessary training, tools and technical documentation to ensure a professional and efficient service, with a quick turnaround and minimal downtime.