Up to £50m is being invested in the production run by owners Frazer-Nash Research and Ecotive.

The hybrid Metrocab is driven by two electric motors, with a 1-litre petrol engine range extender. It can be run in a variety of modes including zero emissions.

Even the more power-hungry modes allow the cab to produce 98 miles per gallon – about three times more fuel efficient than a standard London taxi.

The associated lower running costs, could save a London cabbie £20 – 40 per day.

Metrocab chairman Sir Charles Masefield said: “This announcement marks another important step in bringing the all-new electric powered Metrocab to volume production.

“Our prototype fleet is already operating very successfully in London, proving that our Range Extended Electric taxis are the solution to delivering on the City’s Ultra Low Emission Zones promises from 2018.”

A small trial fleet of Metrocabs is already being operated in London by Comcab, and the model is the first zero-emission-capable taxi to be licensed by Transport for London (TFL) to operate on a trial basis as a London Hackney Carriage.

City smog

The new taxis could help ease London’s pollution levels, which are among the worst in Europe – a problem the city authorities have been trying to tackle with a rash of new policies.

Last week TFL announced a new plan to get 1m Londoners into car clubs, to help cut emissions and congestion in the capital.

The proposed Ultra Low Emission Zone could also be introduced before the original 2020 target and widened to include more boroughs.

Mayor Boris has also proposed a diesel car scrappage scheme which would offer up to £2000 for diesel drivers to switch to cleaner models.

Brad Allen

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