Green Tomato Cars, one of London’s best known private minicab companies, has pulled out of a 50-car deal with Chinese battery company turned automaker BYD, it was announced today.
As The Telegraph reports, the two firms appear to have reached a mutual decision to end a deal originally signed in 2012 in which Green Tomato Cars — the second largest minicab operator in the UK’s capital city — would have operated fifty all-electric e6 Minicabs alongside its existing fleet of Toyota Priuses.
No reason has been given for the sudden breaking of the two-year old deal, but Thriev, a newly-formed minicab service in London, has already installed two BYD e6 rapid chargers at its Edgware Road depot, and plans to roll out its own e6 Taxi service in the coming weeks. Thriev says it hopes to have a one-thousand strong electric-only minicab fleet in London within two years, and says it has linked up with British Gas to install rapid charging stations for its use all across London.
BYD maintains its e6 — which has already seen service in its native China as part of all-electric taxicab fleets in the Shenzhen province — has an all-electric range of 186 miles per charge, making it far better suited to electric taxi cab service than the far more popular Nissan LEAF.
Having driven the BYD e6 ourselves however, we’re not convinced the e6’s large size and underpowered motor was suited to life as a London Minicab. Here’s a video of our experiences behind the wheel of a UK-spec e6 on the closed test-circuit at Millbrook proving ground.
Of course, we’re not sure if Green Tomato Cars — whose fleet has included plug-in Prius hybrids for some time — decided with BYD to end the planned program due to the unrefined driving experience of the e6, or if there were other reasons too.
But with Nissan’s all-electric e-NV200 taxi poised to enter trails in London in the near future and Metrocab trialing a plug-in hybrid taxi can in the next few months, we don’t think this will be the last time Green Tomato Cars test plug-ins.
For now however, it appears Green Tomato Cars might be looking to hydrogen fuel cells, with the news that it might be trailing Hyundai’s soon-to-be-released Ix35 hydrogen fuel cell vehicle.
[hat-tip: Kieron Smith]
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