The world’s most advanced electric taxis, designed and built in the UK, have started appearing on the streets of Edinburgh, thanks to a deal that has been signed by the city’s Union Motor Company.

The electric taxi called the TX, designed by LEVC, uses eCity technology which combines a small petrol generator (known as a “range-extender”) with a class leading battery and proven electric powertrain. The vehicle is only ever driven by its powerful electric motor, however, the small petrol engine on-board can top-up the battery, should the driver be unable to charge.

As a result, these TX eCitys, which promise to dramatically cut driver’s fuel bills, will increasing appear on the capital’s roads.

As well as improving the city’s air quality, the TX’s new multi-filter system works to remove gases and particles from the incoming air. Also, an in-built air quality sensor also automatically closes the external air intake if it detects increased levels of pollution in the outside air.

The first TX was handed over to the Edinburgh cabbie, David McMillan, as part of the opening of the new dealership. Mr McMillan, who has been a cab driver for seven years, said: “These types of vehicle are the future – promising a smoother, more comfortable ride for passengers and will help clean up cities too. The fact I will be financially better off is a big bonus too.”

The technology will give drivers a range of up to 377 miles, and a zero emissions range of 80.6 miles. This set up means that the move to electric will save drivers on average £100 a week in fuel. The PCP finance contract the vehicle will cost £177 per week, which compares with £167 per week for the outgoing diesel vehicle. Mr McMillan, who usually covers 100 miles a day, estimates that he will save £458 per month from making the switch. Further cost savings come from service intervals that jump from 12,000 miles to 25,000 miles.

Union Motor Company have been chosen by LEVC to sell and service the next taxi in the city. They have installed two electric charge points at both their retail sites and have employed four new members of staff to sell and service the vehicle. In addition, several staff members have undergone rigorous training to ensure they are ready to service these electric vehicles.

Danny Flynn, founder of The Union Motor Company, said: “This is the future of all vehicles – they will be essential to protect our urban environment and improve air quality. We have always been a forward-thinking company and we like to be involved in the pioneering of any new technology. We are very excited to come on board and work on the new electric taxi and LEVC.”

There were also be added benefits to the passengers who will notice less vibration and noise in the passenger cabin, alongside charging points for mobile phones, wi-fi and space for six passengers.

Chris Gubbey, CEO of LEVC said: “Our purpose-built, passenger focused taxi, has been designed with the intention of getting more people in the back of cabs – offering the safest, cleanest, quietest and smoothest taxi ride yet. We are delighted to have had the support of Union Motor Company to deliver this vision for the taxi trade in Edinburgh – and I look forward to hearing about how drivers all get on in the new cab.”