Updated: Jun 27, 2022
If you work in the taxi industry you’ll know full well that the shift and demand for drivers to switch to cleaner vehicles has begun and continues to gather pace across the UK.
With well over 5,000 LEVC TX black cabs plying their trade in various cities, the popular cab comes packed with new technology which traditional diesel and petrol drivers must learn about and trust before making that switch.
One of the most frequently discussed topics focuses heavily on the battery in the TX LEVC.
So, let's start with the basics and talk about the pattern pack itself. The drive battery fitted to the TX has been developed in conjunction with LG Chem, the world’s largest automotive battery manufacturer. The gross capacity of the battery is 31kWh and around three-quarters of this is what’s known as ‘usable energy’. This means that a full charge, from 100% down to 0% on the battery charge indicator, represents 23 kWh of energy.
As you would expect, a battery of this size doesn’t come cheap. With a rise in catalytic converter thefts, worried cabbies might be wondering whether the battery could ever be stolen?
According to LEVC it is ‘virtually impossible’. The battery pack is located in an inaccessible location beneath the vehicle and 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.
Safety wise there were early concerns from some cabbies on how the battery would react when faced with impact or a road traffic collision.
The TX battery is protected against extreme heat by a tough metal casing. In the 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.
Carrying on with the topic of safety, there was also an early fear around the possibility of EV’s emitting high levels of radiation. According to LEVC sources, electro-magnetic radiation is all around us, generated by electricity cables, radio and television signals, microwave ovens and mobile phones to name just a few.
Like any product, all new vehicles have to meet strict regulations around radiation levels in order to be sold in Europe. The Vehicle Certification Agency (VCA) oversee these tests in the UK and the LEVC TX passed these with ‘flying colours’.
Because taxi drivers spend much of their working day in close proximity to the battery, LEVC also considered it necessary to gain additional specialist accreditation.
The International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) have developed stringent guidelines designed to protect against any adverse health effects as a result of frequent long-term exposure to electric and magnetic fields.
And finally, we’ve spoken about the drive battery, but what's the 12 V battery located in the boot for and how is it used?
Well, just like a conventional vehicle, the LEVC TX relies on a small 12 V battery to run the ancillary systems when the vehicle is switched off, as well as to 'start' the vehicle (in this case to activate the high voltage systems).
On-board systems monitor the level of charge in this battery to protect it from going flat, but it is still possible to drain the charge.
This may be caused by, for example, improper fitment of third party equipment or a taxi that is left unused for extended periods.
According to LEVC, just like a conventional vehicle, if the battery is flat the TX can be connected to a battery charger or jump started using the remote terminals under the bonnet. If the vehicle is completely flat and the remote door locking is inoperable, a manual key is housed within the key fob and can be used in a hidden door lock to open the doors. Once restarted (or connected to a charge point) the charge in the high voltage battery is used to replenish the 12 V battery.