Taxis are not regular cars.
Taxi drivers are dependent on their vehicles to earn a living and their passengers rely on them to get them where they’re going. This means our taxis have to be able to cover tens of thousands of miles a year in all conditions.
To build a vehicle that provides this level of reliability, our taxis must undergo comprehensive testing above and beyond other vehicles. Our new generation range-extended electric cab is no exception – and it is currently undergoing the most rigorous testing regime of anything we have ever built.
This test programme is focused on ensuring the highest levels of quality, reliability and usability for demanding taxi usage. This includes testing how the vehicle operates in the depths of winter, which meant testing the vehicle not just in any winter conditions – but in one of the world’s harshest environments, deep in the Arctic Circle.
We recently took the final prototypes of the new cab to northern Norway, testing the vehicle in conditions below -15 degrees. This gives us a valuable opportunity to monitor battery performance and electric range in challenging conditions, where on-board systems are used to keep the battery at the optimum operating temperature. Winter testing allows us to measure traction and grip on slippery surfaces and to calibrate safety systems such as anti-lock braking and electronic stability control. Here we also fine tune the calibration of the heating and ventilation systems to ensure they perform effectively, no matter how bitter the temperature outside. That means quickly reaching and maintaining a comfortable cabin temperature for the driver and passengers. Ensuring glass is de-frosted and de-misted rapidly also means drivers have the best possible view of the road – regardless of the conditions.
This regime of testing performance in the harshest conditions will only get more stringent over the coming weeks, with the vehicle set to be chilled to -40°C in an environmental test chamber; effectively a huge drive-in freezer. These checks seek to further guarantee that the vehicle will always perform on demand, even after the coldest winter nights.
On sale in the final quarter of 2017, the new electric taxi will be the most comprehensively tested and
developed product in our history, as Quality Director Wolfram Liedtke explains:
“Our new taxi is being developed with two key engineering principles – quality and endurance to meet the needs of the demanding taxi duty cycle.”
“We understand drivers will want to be sure that our range extended electric vehicle technology works in all conditions which is why we’ve gone to such efforts to test in these extreme environments. It will be, without doubt, the highest quality and resilient product in the London taxi’s history.”
Wolfram brings to us huge experience having run manufacturing plants across Europe during his career which includes 10 years as Executive Director
for Quality at GM Europe and 4 years as Quality Director for premium car maker Jaguar Land Rover.
These exclusive images and video offer an insight into the lengths we’re going to in order to guarantee our range-extended electric taxi performs in all conditions; but extreme cold-weather testing is just one small part of the extensive quality assurance programme currently underway, and we look forward to sharing the next part of this journey with you very soon.