It was this time last year that the Hackney taxi trade was introduced to a new kid on the block. A new upstart that was 100% electric and future proofed for a modern taxi industry.
Yes, we are talking about the Nissan Dynamo Taxi.
Whilst Dynamo, a Coventry-based vehicle manufacturer, officially unveiled the black cab to London in October 2019, there was a lone driver testing the very first plated vehicle in the capital. That driver goes by the name of Adam Patrick and the cab he continues to drive faced its first vehicle licence renewal at the end of August.
Even with the impact of coronavirus, Adam has found the first 25,000 miles in his new taxi a joy to run both from a driving perspective and a financial one.
Maintenance wise the cab has required just a couple of new front tyres, but nothing else. The taxi was relicensed by regulators Transport for London (TfL), passing with flying colours.
From a financial point of view, Adam says he is saving a fortune on fuel. In fact, using home off-peak charging facilities, provided by British Gas, his last 2,800 miles has cost just £43.61; the equivalent of 1.6p per mile.
Dynamo, who have taken the highly popular Nissan e- NV200 Evalia MPV as a basis, has re-engineered the vehicle into a distinctive wheelchair-accessible taxi capable of carrying up to five passengers.
On the topic of passenger feedback and their recognition of the vehicle as a black cab, Adam told TaxiPoint: “Customers see a yellow light and they see a London black cab. Many of my punters who I pick up are oblivious to the fact they are travelling in a new design London black cab. They just want to get from A to B.
“The more astute punters notice the new design, the 100% electric logo and are very excited that London now has a fully electric taxi. Punters comment that the passenger area is a good comfortable size and they just love the panoramic roof.”
Adam added: “The economics of the vehicle are amazing. I am now down to less than 2p per mile on a 5p per kWh home night rate. With the 150-mile range in the summer I can do a full 9-hour shift without having to charge up. Recharging in the winter at 3 miles per minute on a 50kWh charger keeps downtime to a minimum.
“Downtime on servicing is so minimal it is not worth mentioning, there is so few moving parts, there is so little to go wrong.”
Like most manufacturers and businesses, COVID-19 has presented challenges for Dynamo. Production slowed due to distancing measures put in place on the production line, but the firm are planning to gear up in October as orders start to materialise.