London taxis may go electric

The iconic London cab may soon go electric according to Chinese car maker Geely, which owns a large stake of taxi-manufacturer LTI vehicles.

Geely is currently developing its own plug-in hybrid and electric cars and is examining the feasibility of converting the diesel-engined cabs to run on battery power.

A spokesperson for the Environmental Transport Association (ETA) said: “A London TX4 taxi emits 226g CO2 per km, which is more than twice the amount produced by today’s most efficient diesel cars. A 20,000-strong fleet of black cabs in London makes a strong case for converting to electric power.”

Why diesels are ill-suited to urban areas

Diesel engines produce less CO2 and are more fuel efficient and reliable than their petrol counterparts, but these advantages come at an environmental cost. Half an hour of sniffing diesel fumes in a busy city street is enough to induce a “stress response” in the brain.

There is speculation that the changes in the brain may trigger other body responses to diesel fumes, such as oxygen deprivation in the heart. Previous studies in rats have shown that minuscule soot particles can make their way directly to the brain via nerves in the nose.

A spokesperson at the ETA said: “There is a popular belief that due to their lower average CO2 emissions, diesels are better for the planet. Unfortunately it appears that it is people, particularly those in built-up areas, who may be paying the price.”
Car maker VW has fitted its Bluemotion Polo car with a filter that completely removes all trace of particulates from the exhaust.

Related article:
Diesel fumes produce stress response in the brain

What is the ETA?

The ETA is a not-for-profit ethical organisation providing motorists and cyclists with carbon-neutral breakdown cover and insurance products. As well as encouraging responsible driving to reduce carbon, the ETA campaigns for sustainable transport.

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