New TX5 Electric Taxi Survives Arizona Desert Heat Intact (with Video)


The London Taxi Company, after earlier sending its TX5, plug-in taxi prototype to the Arctic Circle for testing, is now operating in the extreme desert heat of Arizona.

London Taxi Company extreme testing process

The British company, owned by Geely (of whom also owns Volvo), is certainly going out of its way to make sure its new range extended, electric taxi will survive in post Brexit London and other cities, as the interest in the model has apparently spread worldwide.

Production of the TX5 plug-in is to be launched in the fourth quarter of this year at an all-new facility in Coventry, UK.

It’s expected that the TX5 will be able to cover hundreds of miles daily, with a capability for zero-emission driving, which will be required in some parts of London from January 1st, 2018.

“Our new electric taxi has undergone over a million miles of durability proving in the most demanding use scenarios, taking it from Coventry to some of the most hostile environments on earth.

How do you test a vehicle on every type of road surface and conditions at all speeds, consistently and in a repeatable way? Where can you take a vehicle past its limits of grip and expose it to physical abuse over and over again in safety? How can you subject a vehicle to many years’ exposure to salty winter roads when it’s warm outside?

London Taxi Company – tests

Our permanent base at MIRA Technology Park near Coventry provides us with unrivalled access to one the largest, most comprehensive automotive proving grounds in the world. This 840-acre site houses 100km of test routes and 37 specialist test facilities including an advanced emissions test centre, climatic wind tunnels, kinematics and compliance facility, electromagnetic compatibility test chambers, crash test facilities and a myriad of other vehicle development laboratories. Our team of engineers works tirelessly to put our prototypes through a gruelling test regime; here are just a few examples:

  • Extensive road testing on all surfaces to optimise durability, tyre wear, ride comfort and handling while driving over potholes, cobbles, rough concrete and even railway tracks
  • A Kinematics and Compliance (or ‘shaker’) rig that vigorously works the suspension system and chassis and helps us to evaluate the performance, fit and wear of the components, as well as to eradicate annoying rattles and vibrations that could be heard inside the cabin
  • The Climatic Wind Tunnel allows a vehicle to operate on a rolling road in sustained severe hot and cold temperatures with a realistic aerodynamic and wind chill effect. The vehicle is left in these conditions for days at a time to ensure every component is fully chilled or heated as would occur in real life
  • A giant salt bath allows us to fully immerse the vehicle in a salt solution, expose it to the air and continue this process repeatedly to simulate driving for 15 years through cold winters with excessive road salt to gauge resistance to corrosion.

London Taxi Company – tests

Despite this extensive programme, there is no substitute for testing in the real world. The UK’s unreliable weather means we don’t experience the right conditions to properly test for all climate conditions. Our strenuous testing regime has therefore taken the cab from the bitter cold of the Arctic Circle to the extreme desert heat of Arizona and across some of the most challenging terrain in the world.

By driving in these extreme environments, we can be confident of how different ambient temperatures, as well as use of equipment such as heating and ventilation, affect the electric range. We also fine-tune the calibration of systems to ensure they perform effectively no matter how severe the temperature outside, ensuring the vehicle can quickly reach and maintain a comfortable cabin temperature for the driver and passengers, de-frost and de-mist windows rapidly and, most importantly, ensure passengers arrive at their destination on time and in comfort.

Ambient temperature is just one aspect of our road tests; we carefully monitor the effects of direct sunlight, heat (and cold) soak, airborne sand and dust particles, and even the impact of different grip levels on the safety stability system.

As part of our commitment to delivering quality and durability, we have ensured our rigorous testing practises not only reflect those of the top global automotive companies, but also adapt and extend those practises to the specific needs of the taxi duty cycle; so whilst we appreciate that not every new electric taxi will be subject to such extremes, drivers can rest assured that their vehicle has been designed to go the distance.

Keep reading our updates to learn about the most important phase of our proving programme to come – later this year we’re putting the new electric taxi on the streets of London, in the hands of licensed taxi drivers. To be continued…”

London Taxi Company – tests

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13 responses to "New TX5 Electric Taxi Survives Arizona Desert Heat Intact (with Video)"
  1. ModernMarvelFan says:

    Well, it is certainly hot in the last few weeks.

    Even some cities around SF Bay Area hit triple digits. Good time to test those cars.

    1. SparkEV says:

      Drove through hot part of San Diego where the temperature reached 112F. Battery conditioning on SparkEV was 5% (bit under 1 kWh, about 5 miles worth). It doesn’t take much to cool the battery, but it’s damn nice to know that I’m not cooking it when driving through hot part of town.

      Knowing this, there’s no way I’d get an EV without active thermal management. I don’t always drive along the coast.

    2. Mister G says:

      Oh yes…vegas has 23 consecutive days of temps over 105 Fahrenheit. We have surpassed 410 ppm of CO2 not good folks

  2. I would have hoped a statement similar to this as a disclosure from Tesla, regarding their Model 3 Development!

    Of the Release Candidate vehicles, I would have though that some (At least 5-10 copies) would be subjected to Environmental Chamber Testing, and some (Also at least 5-10 copies, each) would be sent out to Extreme Environmental Driving Experience areas: Malaysia, Florida, Prince Rupert, B.C.; Alaska, Norway, Greenland, & Iceland; Arizona, B. C. Interior, Egypt & U.A.E.; Mexico City & Denver, Colorado; etc., to Test Wet, Cold, Hot, Dry, and High Altitude responses – in the Flesh, so to speak!

    Maybe such testing IS being done, but in private and controlled spaces? Still, it would be nice to hear, at least by the July 28th Delivery Party, that Tesla HAS been doing testing in such a fashion, from themselves, officially!

    1. ModernMarvelFan says:

      Don’t worry, the first few thousands “owners” will do the test for Tesla for free. =)

      Those “beta/pilot production” cars will be sold and used in “real world test conditions” and Tesla can keep a tab of those data remotely.

      It is the new business model. make something hot and let your customers do the testing for you so you can work on rev2 for even more sales. Don’t pay for your pilots, let the “eager” buyers pay for them.

      1. Michael says:

        That’s standard practice for the entire automotive industry. That is why I never bought the 1st model year of any car.

        1. ModernMarvelFan says:

          It isn’t the standard practice since there is clearly a difference between a beta/pilot car and a real production car.

          Tesla is pushing it a phase further.

          1. speculawyer says:

            They are. And it is risky. But they like to move fast.

            I worry about it and admire it.

            EVs have reduced risks due to FAR fewer moving parts. But they will still have bugs. And they are mitigating risk by selling first to Tesla/SpaceX/SolarCity employees, existing Tesla owners, and people that live close to the factory.

      2. speculawyer says:

        Well…they will mostly be Tesla, SpaceX, & solarcity employees.

  3. James says:

    Would love to have one of these. Wish they’d sell to the public. At least maybe we’ll see Stephen Fry rolling around in one eventually:)

  4. p-run says:

    Series hybrid with 33kWh battery and 22/50kW ac/dc charging capability. Just compare it with Mini Countryman…

  5. Leszek says:

    From my lungs perspective this is probably the most important car. Black cabs in UK have the oldest average fleet age from any transport form, including private cars. Also cabbies often idle they engines near train station where I work, poisoning commuters with their fumes. I cannot wait for all those old bangers to be replaced with those phevs.

  6. jim stack says:

    These look just like the METRO company vehicles we have here in Phoenix. If they really want to test with 110F our area of Arizona is perfect.
    I’d be glad to test and give them data on each days drive. In fact the GM Proving grounds used to be here in Mesa. Nissan ,FOR ,Toyota and VW also have testing areas in this area.