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New retrofitted Mercedes-Benz Vito taxi trial set to begin London trial in April

Updated: Mar 6, 2022

The taxi industry have their fingers crossed for new retrofitted Mercedes-Benz Vito taxi technology as trials get the green light to begin in April.

The new technology will need to complete 10,000 miles and will be remotely monitored alongside occasional visits to regulators Transport for London (TfL) and testing centre Millbrook.

The cleaner retrofit technology could help extend the age limits of black cabs and aid current vehicle shortages if the Vito, and a further LTI TX4, option passes testing and are approved.

If approved, Transport for London (TfL) will follow the lead set by several other major councils across England and Scotland. Some authorities are currently offering grants to taxi drivers willing to upgrade the cabs they drive to cleaner EURO 6 compliant levels.

Aside from buying a new Zero-Emission Capable (ZEC) taxi, retrofitting existing cabs to meet Euro 6 compliance standards is seen as one way to eliminate daily charges and future proofing a driver’s taxi. Using a fully approved retrofit conversion could not only save money on fees, but it will also ensure that the taxi is less harmful to the environment.

Cab drivers could make the switch to greener cabs for as little as £1,300 in some cities according to the latest research.

According to Cybrand, a UK firm that provides retrofit exhaust and emission control solutions for diesel-engined applications, Manchester, Birmingham, Portsmouth, Bradford and Bath all offer taxi drivers the option to convert their cabs in England. In Scotland the big four cities of Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Dundee also provide clean air grant funding for cabbies.

Outside of London the conversion is currently available for Euro 5 Mercedes Vito, Peugeot E7 taxis and now the LTi TX4. Earlier this year the price to retrofit was £5,195 plus vat, though for most cities implementing Clean Air Zones there are grants available through local government, generally for 80% of this amount meaning the typical cost to a taxi driver is just £1,234.

The popular TX4 retrofit is lagging behind the Vito approval process and is currently having fitment issues raised by TfL amended to comply.

Steve McNamara, LTDA General Secretary, said: “The latest update on the conversion programme is that the Vito has finally been approved by TfL to commence road trials, its currently at Millbrook undergoing pre road trials testing and hopefully, all being well, the road trials can start in April.

“The cab will be fitted with a veritable plethora of monitoring and computer equipment which will be remotely monitored, with occasional visits to TfL and Millbrook during the 10,000 miles of testing.

“All being well we could see the conversion approved for fitting towards the end of the year, giving members an option of converting their EU 5 cabs to EU 6 and restoring their 15-year age limit. The TX4 is a bit behind in the process, having been inspected by TfL and is currently having fitment issues that were raised, amended to comply. Hopefully soon to join the Vito in real world trials on the road to full approval.”


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