Home » I Drove A London’s Black Taxi And Discovered Why They Are Some Of The Best Purpose-Built Vehicles On Earth

I Drove A London’s Black Taxi And Discovered Why They Are Some Of The Best Purpose-Built Vehicles On Earth

Matt Londoncab Top Eyes
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To drive one of London’s iconic black taxi cabs you first must pass the hardest test in the world. It’s called, cryptically, The Knowledge and dates back to the 1800s. The name itself implies the totality of the task. Less a quiz than a quest. Those who dare to try it must memorize all of London’s 25,000 roads and streets, 320 different pre-determined routes, and every major landmark. It takes years.

That’s what you have to do in order to attain the coveted green badge that allows you to drive a metered black taxi anywhere in London. I just had to tweet out a picture of myself in London last summer and someone who works for the parent company of the London Electric Vehicle Company (LEVC), which makes the black taxis, asked me if I would like to drive one.

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

“Sure, next time in London” I said, with no plan to come to London but an idea that I had to do it soon and before this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity vanished.

A few months later I was back in London standing in a showroom staring at the plug-in hybrid LEVC TX. Had I used those months in between memorizing how to get from, say, the Islington Police Station to the British Museum? I did not. Had I even used the few days I was in London prior to getting the cab to learn anything? Ehh…

I just showed up with Adrian, The Autopian‘s goth uncle car designer, and assumed I’d Immediately figure it out.

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I did not.

The History Of ‘The Knowledge’

The Great Exhibition
A hall in the Great Exhibition of 1851 from Dickinson’s Comprehensive Pictures of the Great Exhibition of 1851

No one knows for sure what happened, but there’s a story people seem to like and is quasi-officially what London’s transport agency, Transport For London (Tfl), endorses.

Hot on the heels of the Industrial Revolution, the Victorians decided to throw a party to show off all the stuff they’d made (and, ahem, acquired). The Great Exhibition of 1851 is considered by historians to be the most “influential cultural event of the 19th century.” This was sort of the original World’s Fair and brought together art, crafts, performers, and inventions from around the world. Lewis Carroll, Charlotte Brönte, and even Karl Marx were there. The spectators on hand were amazed by an adding machine that could add numbers up to 299.

It was a huge success, but getting to Crystal Palace in Hyde Park was apparently a huge ass-pain.

From Tfl’s history:

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Hundreds of thousands of people visited the event – with many going on to complain to the authorities about just how bad their journeys had been because cabmen didn’t know the route. What was called for was a system that could test the cabmen’s knowledge of the principal streets, squares and public buildings in London.

Cabs at this point were of the horse-drawn variety and GPS service was extra poor on account of satellites not having been invented yet. So a test was created. Today it’s a multi-year process to get a green badge and Tfl, which administrates the test, suggests to potential drivers that “most people who apply to become a licensed taxi driver and take the Knowledge of London exam use a moped/scooter to help learn the runs.”

British Museum Route
One of the routes a cabbie has to know backwards and forwards from memory. Source: Tfl

Memorizing the area within six miles of Charing Cross station is a herculean mental test and takes some drivers four years to ace the exam. London has expanded over the centuries and, viewed on Google Maps, it’s less the rigidly rectangular layout of a Manhattan and instead something more organic, like a complex animal cell viewed under a microscope. Cabbies have to memorize a dense tangle of narrow minor streets, slightly less narrow major thoroughfares, and circuses–which is what the locals call circles, even the ones that aren’t circles at all. Scientists have proven that cab drivers who have successfully completed The Knowledge have enlarged the part of the brain that controls memory.

Here’s how cab driver and author Peter Allen describes trying to learn it:

First, we do something called the Blue Book, which is 320 runs that take you all the way around the city. The first run is Manor House to Gibson Square. You start by spending at least an hour and a half driving round Manor House station, learning the area. After that, you drive on, past eight different places of interest listed in the book, discovering how to get in and out, and making notes. Then at Gibson Square, you explore the area again.

In between runs, you do something known as “calling over”. In a group of two or three people, you sit around a map on a table and ask each other to describe the quickest route between two places. Then you look at it on the map, and work out if you’ve gone the correct route. You just keep going over the same thing again and again and again until eventually it sinks in. It helps to do it with other Knowledge students; trying to practise with your partner is the quickest route to a breakup.

Thankfully for my partner, I didn’t try at all.

The Iconic Black Taxi

Bearsey Cab
An electric Bearsey Cab. Photo The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum CCA 4.0 licence

The transition from horse-drawn carriages to the black taxis we all know and love started with electric cars. The Berseys–named after designer Water C. Bersey–were a fleet of battery-powered cabs serving Londoners at the turn of the 19th century. While conceptually they were ahead of their time, the London Vintage Taxi Association’s cab history notes that the cabs left a lot to desire practically as “they proved costly and unreliable and there were a number of accidents, including one fatality.”

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The cabs were quickly withdrawn and, as with automobiles around the world, replaced with gas-powered vehicles, many of which were imported from France. Numerous cab companies using a wide variety of cabs sprung up. Not all of these vehicles quite worked as cabs and so the authorities set out the Condition of Fitness–a set of guidelines that determined how a vehicle would need to be able to perform to be a licensed cab in London. The British love their bureaucracy.

Savoy Courtyard
The entrance to the Savoy London. Photo: The Savoy London

One of the most important characteristics of a cab was that it had to have a 25-foot turning circle so that it could drop a passenger off in the tiny court in front of the tony Savoy Hotel, lest a hotel guest have to endure something as offensive as waiting for a cab to back up. In a world where everything feels bigger, the Savoy Court is the same size, so even modern taxis have to maintain that same tight turning circle.

The story of LEVC, whose cab I would soon drive, starts with JJ Mann and Tom Overton, who began importing cabs and eventually cornered most of the market with their taxis. Shortly after WWII, Mann and Overton contracted with Austin to make a new cab, the FX3, with a host of improvements including a sliding glass partition for the passengers and actual weather protection for the drivers.

Tx 3 Design
The original. Source: LEVC

But the most important change was the body, created by taxi design company Carbodies of Coventry, with that characteristically tall greenhouse, stiff-upper-lip grille flanked by single round headlights, and that little flourish of classic luxury in the form of a kink below the passenger window that wraps around the ‘boot’ and gives the impression of an old carriage hauling a trunk full of shooting gear. This was the first true ‘black taxi.’

Levc Classic
Source: LEVC

More generations of the FX would follow under various iterations of the company, but they’d all maintain that same recognizable shape. Despite having the market cornered, the last iteration of the company went into bankruptcy, only to be absorbed into Chinese automaker Geely, which also owns classic British automaker Lotus, Swedish automaker Volvo, and a bunch of other car companies. Which is where my journey begins.

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A Showroom Full Of Just Taxis Is A Strange Place To Be

Levc Taxi ShwroomAfter a quick breakfast at a terribly popular and also kind of terrible hipster coffee shop, Adrian and I make our way under London via the tube to the LEVC London Central showroom, right where Agar Grove turns into Brewery Road. Inside the dealership, there’s a line of used cars against the wall, representing various trims of the LEVC TX, the latest plug-in electric gas hybrid.

“Seems a bit pricy,” I tell Adrian, eyeing a Vista Comfort Plus model with almost 100,000 miles on the clock listed for £41,495. This was before I’d driven one and understood the value.

The very nice folks at the showroom said they needed to clean the taxi first, which, as time went on, made me a little nervous given what normally ends up in New York City cabs. To kill time Adrian and I poke around like the would-be cabbies we are.

Levc Showroom GearIt’s almost a bizarro world experience as this showroom has everything a normal showroom has, but it’s all cab-flavored. Amidst the rows of multi-colored cabs, are LEVC polos and hats, and even LEVC accessories. You can get LEVC-themed rain guards (£130) floor mats (£75 each), and a phone holder (£130).

The signs are all the signs you’d expect, like ones advertising a warranty, but in insane cabbie proportions (for instance, Adrian spies one proudly proclaiming a “3-year, 120,000-mile warranty”).

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Warranty SignEventually, Adrian and I discover an unlocked model and start trying to grasp the dimensions of the TX. I assume, as a former resident, Adrian would understand intrinsically how the passenger compartment of the cab worked. This assumption is quickly proven incorrect.

“Its, uh… I know it should work, but it doesn’t,” Adrian says, continually trying to fold the seats together to create room for six passengers.

Adrian is my guide to London, so this isn’t a great sign.

How Does This Work“Oh, like this!” he says, proudly pulling a lever behind the middle seat to get it to swing out.

The nice woman who works at the dealership comes over and informs us that our cab is ready and makes sure we sign a few forms agreeing to not do anything untoward with the cab. They even scan Adrian’s driving records to make sure he’s up to snuff. I have no British driving records, so they just shrug it off and give me the keys.

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It’ll be fine. Just hand the lunatic with no driving records a cab. What could go wrong?

Never Mind The Bollards

Goth Baby DriverThe plan is for Adrian to drive first, given that he’s spent time as a courier and knows the city fairly well. Given his inability to even arrange seats I nervously climb in the back. Our destination is the famous Ace Cafe, the birthplace of motorcycle culture in England and one of the most historic and influential places for those inclined toward getting around on two wheels. A handful of readers are waiting there for us.

“Perfect, we’re on the A1,” Adrian exclaims as if I have any idea what he means.

It turns out British roads are divided thusly:

  • A-Roads: The original highways of Britain, arranged in a circle around London.
  • B-Roads: Smaller local roads. When a British journo talks about ‘bombing down a B-road’ that’s what they’re talking about.
  • Motorways: These are noted M (M1, M49, et cetera) and are much like America’s Interstates.
  • C, D… U: Any smaller road.

The A1 is the Great North Road of England, pointing straight north out of London and connecting to Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland. We’ve promised to have the cab back before the shop closes, so the Ace Cafe on the far edge of London seems far enough.

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Backseat ViewAdrian’s making his way carefully in the middle lane while I harass him using the TX’s intercom, which is activated by a large button in the passenger compartment.

“Go in the bus lane! What’s the point of being in a cab if you can’t take the bus lane?”

Being British, Adrian is concerned that this isn’t proper since the cab may not be registered.

“What are they gonna do to us?”

“Well, alright then!”

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And off we go.

Full ViewThe amount of space inside feels very much like Dr. Who’s TARDIS in that it feels much bigger on the inside than it looks on the outside, helped immensely by the panoramic moon roof. We only carry a couple of bags with us but I feel like I could fit everything I own in here and still have room in the official luggage compartment, which isn’t in the trunk but, for historical and practical reasons, where the passenger would normally sit in the front.

Adrian loves cars and is thoughtful and careful in a way that, as a long-time car reviewer and even longer-time dipshit, I am not. He makes sure to keep a great distance between other cars, not push any buttons erroneously, and otherwise obey all posted signs.

Never Mind The BollardsHe does get a little too comfortable with the cab and, by the time we arrive, Adrian decides to back up into a spot.

Longtime reader/member/contributor Doug is there and I can see him waving wildly as Adrian backs towards a pole. Somehow, amazingly, Adrian stops the cab with maybe two millimeters to spare.

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This Thing Is Tight

Ace Cafe LondonLunch at the Ace Cafe London couldn’t be more pleasant. If you’re anywhere in the vicinity on a visit you need to go. Mark, who runs the place, greets us outside and we all stand around smoking and chatting about cars. Someone brings a delightful little Lotus and we chat about it for a while. Because it’s London it starts raining almost immediately so we all run inside

Vacation rules apply to my meal choices and I’m encouraged by everyone to get the “British Breakfast” which includes 2 eggs, 2 bacon rashers, a sausage, mushrooms, beans, buttered toast, and a grilled half of a tomato that’s there to make sure the plate isn’t just shades of brown. It’s delicious and our pal/contributor Alex Goy even captures me in the process of admiring it.

Alex Goy Matt Beans
Photo: Alex Goy

One technicality of my borrowing the LEVC TX is that I’m not allowed to accept a fare. But that’s just a technicality and, as luck would have it, one of our readers needs a lift. Since I’m going to refuse payment it’s not a fare.

Volvo StuffGetting into the cab it immediately feels familiar. This is partially due to the fact that it’s just a car, but also because it’s a car made by Geely, which means a lot of what is inside the cabin area is just a cheaper version of Volvo stuff I’ve already driven.

The main navigation/infotainment screen is flanked by buttons that are identical to what you’d find on an XC40, but connected to a much smaller and lower-quality screen. The steering wheel buttons are also straight out of the Volvo parts bin, though the wheel itself is made of a sturdier fake leather.

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Us At The AceHoping to set up a little photo with some other cars I get to first test out the extremely tight turning radius of the TX. While 25 feet isn’t Smart Car-tight, compare that to about 19 feet for the much smaller Audi TT next to it. A Chevy Tahoe, which is how we move seven people in America, needs almost 40 feet to make a U-Turn. It’s quite remarkable.

After the photo and goodbyes, Adrian and our member Renny (real name changed to protect the innocent) take off back into London.

A Texan Cabbie In London

Behind The Glass“Where to guvnah!” I pronounce into the cab’s intercom before realizing my cockney accent hasn’t improved since playing an orphan in the play version of Oliver back in 6th grade. I shift tactics and drop straight into my suppressed East Texas accent.

“Where y’all wanting to go.”

“Oh, I think you’re heading back to where I’m going, so anywhere is fine” Renny politely offers.

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The scenic route it is…

Levc ButtonsProblems begin almost immediately. There are too many buttons. I love buttons and am easily distracted. I haven’t driven in England the whole trip and so when I should be deciding which is the correct mode of traffic I’m instead trying to see if I can start a fare.

I find a gap in between cars but scarcely notice the car coming the other direction.

“Oh God” I hear Adrian mutter from the backseat. Whereas his driving technique was prim and proper mine is more improvisational.

Levc Architecture
The TX architecture. Image: LEVC

Thankfully, the TX is a range-extended plug-in hybrid like David’s BMW i3, so it’s always being propelled by a rear-mounted, 148-horsepower electric motor. This means there’s enough shove to scoot this thing out of the way of oncoming traffic. While 0-62 mph is a meager 13.2 seconds, it doesn’t feel slow up to about 8 mph, which is where this car will mostly live.

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The top speed of the TX is limited to 80 mph, which is probably wise, but I accelerate onto the A1 anyway just to see how the car responds. Much to my surprise, the TX stays planted. The relatively low weight (under 5,000 pounds) and low center of gravity combine to make something that, while not sporting, feels very much like any other crossover you’d drive.

“I don’t think he has a glittering career as a cab driver in front of him,” Adrian says from the back, which I take personally.

The good news is I’ve figured out how to use the taxi meter and I can hit a button to charge Adrian an extra 40 pence every time he mouths off. As we move down the highway traffic slows so I try to find a radio station. Having passed The Knowledge, many London cabbies pride themselves on being able to give a great history of the place. I haven’t, so I wanted to see what kind of tunes I could get on the FM receiver.

Levc Interior“Smooth, there’s a lot of smooth… Smooth Country Kent. Smooth Kent Kent,” I explain. “Smooth double-kent.”

As I make my British radio jokes we come across an accident involving a bus, a Mercedes A-Class, and a Tesla. It’s pretty grim and, for a second, I realize I should probably be paying attention to the road while we’re going faster. But just for a second.

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We quickly exit the highway and I start exploring the side roads of London. The LEVC has wonderful visibility as the greenhouse is about as large and open as the one in Kew Gardens. This does make me counterintuitively nervous and I ask my passengers if it feels like I’m drifting into parked cars. This feeling is heightened by the incessant beeping I assume is some form of proximity warning.

“No, you’re fine” they assure me.

“It keeps beeping at me” I complain.

“That’s the speed limit warning!”

Oops. Much of where we’re driving has a 20 mph speed limit and, as an American, this is unusual to me. It takes a lot of effort to drive that slow, which is perhaps the most impressive accomplishment of London’s taxi drivers. I’m driving what feels like a safe speed and, yet, the TX is constantly reminding me that I’m being a jerk.

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So be it. I cannot drive particularly smoothly or slowly. I have no real idea where I’m going. I figure the least I can do is be friendly.

Matt WavingI assume there’s some sort of secret nod or wave that cabbies share with other accomplished cabbies. I don’t know what this is so I just start waving and smiling at every cab driver who comes across our path.

For some reason, they don’t seem to like this. Have they gathered that I’m not a real cabbie? Do they sense that I’m a usurper? One of the other cabbies looks me right in my eyeballs and gives me a mug so mean it chills me for a second.

“I know what you’re doing and I don’t like it” he seems to be trying to tell me, telepathically.

Oh well! I keep trying and, eventually, I get a friendly wave from either a super nice cab driver or another person who stole a cab.

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A Lot Of Extras

I’m close to LEVC’s showroom and so I ask Renny if there’s any particular place I should drop him and he insists that “No, right here is fine” either of out a sense of politeness or a sense of self-preservation. Maybe both.

My career as a cabbie only lasts an afternoon, encompasses one ride, and, because I kept futzing with the meter, has netted me 0 pounds in actual fare with £7.20 in extras.

The LEVC TX Is A Smart Solution To The Cab Problem

Levc OutsideWhile I must admit that Adrian is right and I’d probably not make it as a professional cabbie, I do understand why the LEVC is a good fit. Yes, it’s expensive at $84,000, but local incentives bring the cost is closer to $76,000 for a wheelchair-equipped Vista.

As a range-extended hybrid the TX also makes a lot of sense. The average cabbie in London is estimated to do about 70-100 miles of driving in a day and the battery and, on the WTLP cycle, the 34.6 kWh battery should give the revised TX an electric range of about 78 miles.

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Under the hood of the TX is a small, 1.5-liter Volvo-sourced three-cylinder engine that acts as a generator and can provide an additional 255 miles of range for a total of 333 miles. While the 50 kW charging isn’t as fast as most modern electric cars, it can still get the vehicle up to 80% of charge from 20% in a half-hour or so from empty on a 50 kW charger.

Levc BootWhere the TX is a massive improvement on the i3 is in the size of its gas tank, which can hold almost 10 gallons of fuel, which is about 4x what the BMW can hold. This means a cabbie can finish a day’s work and not have to worry about losing out just because he or she couldn’t find a charger. The TX is also not just for cabbies in London. Plenty of other cab drivers in England and other parts of the world use them. There’s even a van variant.

As David has pointed out, our plug-in hybrids aren’t good enough, and the big reason is range. From an environmental standpoint, the TX makes a lot of sense.

And as an owner-operator, the TX makes a lot of sense, too. Not only is the vehicle purpose-built for this, the running costs are estimated to be quite low. LEVC themselves estimate it should cost roughly $14 to do a 120-mile shift with about 20 minutes of downtime to charge in the middle of the shift.

By comparison, a traditional hybrid that gets 40 mpg in London would need about $16 worth of fuel at today’s pricing.

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Levc ProfilePlus, just look at it. I’ve driven plenty of vans in Europe and the driving experience was roughly similar. But none of them made me feel as cool. These cabs are special. They’re part of a long lineage of British cabbies that goes back almost 200 years and they’re as quintessentially British as beans-on-toast, The Rolling Stones, and royal weirdness.

For one day I was the worst cab driver in all of London, but London is the Big League of cab driving. Or, I guess, London is the Premiere League of cab driving. To be a bad cab driver here is cooler than being even a mediocre cab driver in Paris.

Still, next time I’ll probably leave it to the professionals.

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Sean Hannay
Sean Hannay
13 days ago

There was a brief period in the early aughts where an previous generation of the TX was used as a taxi in Atlanta. They didn’t last very long and were replaced by already ubiquitous Caravans and Prii.

Freelivin1327
Freelivin1327
16 days ago

Nice! I’d still rather “A Lexus” Texas

BigThingsComin
BigThingsComin
16 days ago

Can you explain why British Breakfast Beans (BBB) are served essentially flavourless?

Dave
Dave
16 days ago

Gah! I’m jealous you got to drive a London cab. And I’m even more jealous because you got to hang out with Alex Goy! (More from him please!)

John Patson
John Patson
16 days ago

Seem to have improved but the ones I drove in the 1990s were designed for Cockney dwarfs. Anyone normal size in the the driving seat and all you got was a view of the top of the windscreen… Could always tell a cabby from their bent forward posture.

TheDrunkenWrench
TheDrunkenWrench
16 days ago

I loves me some purpose-built vehicle design. It also drives home a lot of design features that SHOULD be in most vehicles. That hybrid range is just sublime, and an example of what I desire out of a pickup (mid size or full size, I don’t particularly care).
This is also my first time seeing a picture of Adrian, and I am not surprised in the least to see a designer committed to a very specific aesthetic.

Wuffles Cookie
Wuffles Cookie
17 days ago

Every time I go to London I’ve extremely impressed by these cabs. There is indeed some sort of magic going on with regards to exterior vs interior dimensions, despite being smaller than almost every car on the road in the USA, you can still fit 5 adults and all of their luggage inside one of these things, which feels like it’s violating some laws of n-dimensional topology.

Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
17 days ago

Just a few thoughts I have:
1. Do they have a form of GPS in England or Britain or whatever they call that part of a little island?
2. If there is only one basic route to a popular destination that has an event occurring at a particular time might that not cause a problem?
3. If tourists are using public transportation and the driver takes them on say a scenic route might it not be intentional to say up the fee?
4. Yeah DT shouldn’t drive in London or England or Britain. What the he’ll is with this country? The name changes on the land and on the money. What is a pound, pence, a stone? Just call it one name.

PajeroPilot
PajeroPilot
17 days ago
Reply to  Mr Sarcastic

I presume you meant all this in jest but GPS does indeed exist in the UK (another name just to confuse things) and a stone is a unit of weight, not currency. Even I know that as a lifetime user of kilograms!

Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
16 days ago
Reply to  PajeroPilot

What are these kilograms of which you speak? And if a stone is a unit of weight what weight is it. And they use pounds for money and even I know a pound is a unit of weight.

Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
16 days ago
Reply to  Mr Sarcastic

Just wondering here didn’t there used to be 2 main GPS systems, Garmin for USA and a different one for Urope? Hey if they can use Merica I can use Urope, but I don’t know how to spell Ritain or is it Written for the UK or England or Ryland and Cotland?

PajeroPilot
PajeroPilot
16 days ago
Reply to  Mr Sarcastic

A stone is 14 pounds it turns out. Why? Because it’s British and that’s the proper way to do things! A kilogram? That’s one thousand of the little French units called grams. Why do we use French units here in the land of Oz when we were colonised by Britain? Because even the Brits have largely abandoned their archaic measurement systems and succumbed to SI units, so we thought we would too.

Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
16 days ago
Reply to  PajeroPilot

So I can take a stone to a bank and get 14 pounds for it go to the pub and buy how many pints, which have 16 ounces then go to France change the ounces to grams and get that much in gold? Or do I need to qualify for and win an event in the Olympics? That’s why Merica won’t do the metric system.

Lewin Day
Lewin Day
17 days ago
Reply to  Mr Sarcastic

England does have GPS and mapping, of course. The Knowledge predates GPS, and whether an experienced cabbie can beat a Google Maps route is often a matter of contention.

Captain Muppet
Captain Muppet
17 days ago
Reply to  Mr Sarcastic

“ London or England or Britain. What the he’ll is with this country? The name changes on the land and on the money. What is a pound, pence, a stone? Just call it one name.”

London is a city in a small country called England that’s part of a bigger country called the “United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland”, usually shortened to “the UK” or sometimes just “Britain” if you want to piss off some of the people in Northern Ireland (if you struggle with this sort of thing then Northern Ireland really isn’t the place to accidentally call someone English, British or Irish).

Like how Phoenix is a city in the county of Maricopa which is in the state of Arizona which is in the USA, but without as many different levels of government or an exhausting amount of heat. This is all really clear if you look at a map, or maybe read a book.

Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
16 days ago
Reply to  Captain Muppet

Is playboy count as a book? JK. I see plenty of Merica jokes just wanted to jostle the supposed stiff upper lip crowd. But really can the people who brought us Benny Hill, Ghost, Salvage Wars, Mrs Browns Boyz, and Adrian’s haircut be that dower?

Captain Muppet
Captain Muppet
16 days ago
Reply to  Mr Sarcastic

My mother-in-law is Northern Irish, her family regard Mrs Brown’s Boys as a documentary, not a comedy.

Sean O'Brien
Sean O'Brien
16 days ago
Reply to  Mr Sarcastic

There are 4 main Global Navigation Satellite Systems, of which GPS is one. Galileo (Europe), GLOSNAS (Russia), and BeiDou (China) are the others. Most commercial receivers talk to some or all of these systems in order to get the best fixes.

Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
16 days ago
Reply to  Sean O'Brien

Thanks I assumed they had a system, but couldn’t remember the name but was sarcastically making a point about the irrelevance and incorrect thinking of the test.

Andrew Wyman
Andrew Wyman
17 days ago

Looking at that LEVC sign, it appears it uses the normal J1772 for charging. Did they talk about the overall change in the industry and if they will offer Tesla adapters etc? Or is that not something they will worry about?

Tangent
Tangent
17 days ago
Reply to  Andrew Wyman

Teslas use J1772 in Europe so that isn’t an issue.

Andrew Wyman
Andrew Wyman
16 days ago
Reply to  Tangent

Today I now know that new bit of information.

InvivnI
InvivnI
17 days ago

I’m not familiar with the state of ridesharing in London, but I’d be curious to know if/how the likes of Uber have impacted the traditional taxi industry there.

Alpine 911
Alpine 911
17 days ago
Reply to  InvivnI

Uber had an impact, anecdotally it forced the cabs to accept cards and it seemed to help with service quality increasing

StillNotATony
StillNotATony
17 days ago

I am amazed that Matt survived the withering glare and inevitable “tut-tut” from Uncle Adrian. Hardigree, did you not see the skull bag and realize the danger you were courting?!?

Jatkat
Jatkat
17 days ago

A Chevy Yukon?? Tsk tsk Mr. AutoJourno, the Yukon is sold under the “totally” different GMC brand.

Adrian Clarke
Adrian Clarke
17 days ago
Reply to  Jatkat

I mean, it’s not like he’s from one of those states that loves those sorts of vehicles, like say Texas.

Jatkat
Jatkat
17 days ago
Reply to  Adrian Clarke

From Texas, lives in NY. That’s like a Yukon double whammy.

Usernametaken
Usernametaken
17 days ago
Reply to  Adrian Clarke

What are you asserting here? That he’s supposed to be some sort of automotive pontificator?

Rod Millington
Rod Millington
17 days ago
Reply to  Usernametaken

How dare you bring the car pope into this.

Slow Joe Crow
Slow Joe Crow
17 days ago

One would expect a purpose built vehicle to be good at its job. I am pleased that the LEVC is,well executed, the old Metro Cab seemed less well done. An LHD could be a good answer in the US, assuming regulators don’t impose stupid requirements NYC T&LC I’m looking at you

M0L0TOV
M0L0TOV
17 days ago

So wasn’t the MV-1 we have stateside originally related to the black cab during development? Also, it would be interesting for you to drive one and compare/contrast since they have similar roles they fill.

Aaron
Aaron
17 days ago
Reply to  M0L0TOV

The MV-1 had a version that was approved for cab use in NYC, but I doubt a 7000 lb, V8 powered “minivan” built by the Humvee people would have ever been considered for use in London.

M0L0TOV
M0L0TOV
16 days ago
Reply to  Aaron

No, what I was trying to say is I thought I remembered during the development of the MV-1, the black cab chassis was originally used and then modified for American use. There was no intention of selling that thing overseas. That’s like trying to sell a Crown Vic as a cab in London.

Andy Individual
Andy Individual
17 days ago

I am very disappointed that you did not wear a top hat.

Balloondoggle
Balloondoggle
17 days ago

I’m confused. Adrian is, I thought, an anarchist but he’s following the rules and driving nice? “Being British, Adrian is concerned that this isn’t proper since the cab may not be registered.” What the hell????!!??

Adrian Clarke
Adrian Clarke
17 days ago
Reply to  Balloondoggle

Anarchist, but also autistic. The normal mind cannot comprehend my inner turmoil.

Last edited 17 days ago by Adrian Clarke
Lizardman in a human suit
Lizardman in a human suit
17 days ago
Reply to  Adrian Clarke

Well, here in the States, driving politely and by the rules causes anarchy. How would the average driver in the UK rate compared to the average yahoo statesife?

Captain Muppet
Captain Muppet
17 days ago

20 years ago I’d have said the average UK driver was pretty much sticking to the rules and driving in a predictable way with good observation and mostly excellent use of speed. As you might expect given how much harder it is to get a licence to drive over here, compared to the US test of being both old enough and wanting to pass. You don’t even spell it right.

These days though the standards have fallen so far that some of them may as well be Americans. Assume every other driver is mostly on their phone.

I’ve read the drivers handbook for each of the US states I’ve driven in (and in one case lived in) and I think I’m the only person who ever has. Sticking to the rules seemed like a bad idea. Observe all traffic well and try to fit in. I’ve done a lot of driving in the US and while you’re all feral, it’s nothing compared to driving in Paris or anywhere in Italy, and they are a dream compared to parts of Asia I’ve been to.

Balloondoggle
Balloondoggle
16 days ago
Reply to  Captain Muppet

The root of the issue in my state is that anyone who wants a license and is under 18 years old is required to take drivers education, but that is hundreds of dollars and many families can’t lay that out. So what do you do? You wait until you’re 18 and the classes are not required! All you have to do is pass the test, which is fairly simple, and you’re then unleashed on society! Add in all the various distractions – it’s not just phones – and a lack of concern for your own well-being, much less anyone else’s and you have chaos.

I’m going to go shout at some clouds before this gets lengthy…

Balloondoggle
Balloondoggle
16 days ago
Reply to  Adrian Clarke

Oh my god, the arguments you must have with yourself! I bet you lose fully half of them, too.

(And I can’t believe a site author noticed me! Thanks Uncle, for responding. I love this site.)

Last edited 16 days ago by Balloondoggle
Max Finkel
Max Finkel
17 days ago

I wish Geely would try harder for the cab/ride share market in the states.

Between this and Volvo body styles, they have the ingredients for a really great Taxi for the US market.

Just stick the more durable touch points and that drivetrain into the S90 and you’ve got a comfortable, thrifty, large enough vehicle that meets driver needs and can accommodate American-sized passengers and the crap they take with them.

and if they can’t do that, there are plenty of other good shapes available to them.

Jack Trade
Jack Trade
17 days ago

What, no National Lampoon’s European Vacation references? Matt’s got some Clark Griswold energy (e.g. all that Autopian regalia), and Renny sure seems to be channeling Michael Palin’s personification of British self-deprecating acceptance.

StillNotATony
StillNotATony
17 days ago
Reply to  Jack Trade

Look kids! Parliament! Big Ben!

Delta 88
Delta 88
17 days ago
Reply to  StillNotATony

Look. A clock. We don’t have that in America.

Delta 88
Delta 88
17 days ago

I love how there is absolutely no question as to who owns the messenger bag sitting in the back seat

Rain
Rain
17 days ago

> While 25 feet isn’t Smart Car-tight, compare that to about 19 feet for the much smaller Audi TT next to it.

This isn’t correct. The turning circle (diameter) of the cab is around 25 feet. The turning radius of the TT is about 19 feet, or a 38′ turning circle. The TT will not make a tighter turn than the cab.

SAABstory
SAABstory
17 days ago

Let me know when the Mondail Membership Level debuts. Benefits involve driving with Adrian to get coffee and hearing him talk shit on stupid stuff.

V10omous
V10omous
17 days ago

A Chevy Yukon, which is how we move seven people in America

Not in my America, sir.

Taargus Taargus
Taargus Taargus
17 days ago
Reply to  V10omous

Lol, I’m assuming “Chevy Yukon” was intentional, but I also scratched my head at that.

Taargus Taargus
Taargus Taargus
17 days ago
Reply to  Matt Hardigree

Well it’s a good thing that they’re basically exactly the same then, lol.

Camp Fire
Camp Fire
17 days ago

A small range-extended EV with 333 miles of range?
Feels large inside but still drives like a small car?
Super rare on this side of the pond?

I think David just found his newest Grail…

Adrian Clarke
Adrian Clarke
17 days ago
Reply to  Camp Fire

Have you seen the purchase price? David would faint.

Camp Fire
Camp Fire
17 days ago
Reply to  Adrian Clarke

But…it’s a GRAIL!

Surely the fainting would be worth it. Eh?

Torque
Torque
11 days ago
Reply to  Adrian Clarke

David would of course find one that had been driven +500k miles, and was more rust than vehicle and therefore offered for sale for less than a Christmas Carol butcher’s largest turkey in the window

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