The companies behind the eVito electric taxi – Zytek, Valence Technology, Penso and Mercedes-Benz UK, have created a vehicle that can go around 120 kilometers (75 miles) on a six-hour charge with seating for six.
The eVito taxi uses a new 70kW version of Zytek’s proven electric drivetrain and a custom-designed Vocis gearbox built by Graziano.
To maximize interior space, the vehicle has been converted to front wheel drive to allow the 35kWh Valence Li-Ion battery pack to be installed beneath the vehicle floor. By lowering the centre of gravity, the low mounting point also improves vehicle stability and ride quality. A steerable rear axle provides the tiny 25ft (7.6m) turning circle required by all licensed black cabs operating in London.
The electric drive uses the existing engine mounting points with minor revisions and requires just three additional connections (water, high voltage electrics and low voltage electrics). It interfaces with all existing vehicle systems including ABS (Antilock Braking System), ESP (Electronic Stability Program) and OBD (onboard diagnostics). Performance at city speeds is said to be lively, as expected by London’s cabbies.
Zytek Automotive sales and marketing director Steve Tremble says that all the technologies are market-ready and thoroughly proven in vehicles already in production. “We could easily have electric taxis in service in-time for the 2012 London Olympics,” he says.
Zytek has designed and integrated electric drive systems for a wide range of European and US vehicle manufacturers and is currently building high performance electric drivetrains up to 70kW and 300Nm for cars, busses and light commercial vehicles. Their UK facility can accommodate up to 6,000 E-Drive integrations a year in batches as low as 100, providing vehicle manufacturers with a highly flexible specialist production resource for their low carbon programmes. The company was also amongst the first to design and validate a production-ready diesel hybrid.