LONDON – A new chapter begins for London’s famous black cabs with the first all-electric taxis taking to the streets in the final phase of testing.

The LEVC TX vehicles are well on course to meet the city’s January deadline for all newly licensed taxis to be zero-emissions-capable.

Having been put through the most rigorous testing regime in LEVC’s history, including extreme weather conditions in the Arctic and Death Valley, these EVs now face the final challenge as they are tested on the streets of London.

The test-fleet drivers are bona fide London cabbies boasting full “London knowledge” qualifications who will help collect vital information such as the emissions savings from LEVC’s eCity technology and the performance of London’s recharging infrastructure before delivering to customers and being available to fare-paying passengers later in the year.

Features of the new cabs include six seats, contactless card machines, onboard Wi-Fi, laptop and USB charging, a panoramic roof and an aluminum body that is stronger and will better protect the passenger. In addition, the manufacturer promises an unrivaled ride quality, class-leading wheelchair accessibility, air conditioning, phone charging and a much more spacious cabin.

The black-cab trade has a global reputation for safety, so active and passive systems include forward-collision warning, autonomous emergency braking and emergency-brake assistance.

Driver connectivity includes on-board satellite navigation with access to online charge-point maps and hailing apps for booking rides.

“We are incredibly excited to deliver our six test vehicles to the streets of London today,” Chris Gubbey, CEO of LEVC, says. Made in the U.K., this is set to be the best taxi in the world for the best taxi service in the world.

“We will now be able to accurately quantify the significant improvements these vehicles will make to London’s air quality, which will benefit all Londoners regardless of whether you use taxis or not. For those that do, the experience will be transformational.”