Taxi!

MEP Technologies are helping refit standard black taxis as Electric Vehicles, using an innovative new battery system.

Dundee engineering firm MEP Technologies is embarking on a collaborative project which will pave the first steps to retrofitting existing fossil fuelled black cabs as electric vehicles. The project, named ‘FlexiMod’, seeks to save costs in both carbon emissions created by new vehicle manufacture, and also aims to become a cheaper solution than buying a new electric taxi outright.

MEP Technologies’ role in the collaboration is to produce a highly flexible, liquid-cooled battery module able to support multiple series-parallel configurations. For the layman, this means that the battery’s power output will be flexible depending on differing voltage, capacity and space requirements of the vehicle, and will be cooled rapidly by a liquid plate system. Ultimately, this flexibility means the new battery module will be adaptable for other uses beyond taxis, such as in off-road vehicles, or other automotive use.

The project is a joint venture between several technology firms in Scotland. AMPTE Power in Thurso are providing the cells needed for the battery module which will be designed and made by MEP Technologies Ltd. Electron Garage in Fife are overseeing the conversion of the taxi itself: removing the fossil fuelled engine and fitting the battery and drive train components. The project is being overseen by consultant battery electrochemist Dr Euan McTurk of Plug Life Consulting Ltd.

Stuart Morrison, Managing Director of MEP Technologies said: “It’s great to be working in collaboration with other like-minded businesses on projects like this, which push us closer to a zero emissions economy. FlexiMod technology has the potential to be used across a wide range of applications, from powering Cadillacs, to Land Rovers through to fork lifts. We’re thrilled that our technology will be taking centre stage in this exciting venture.”

Consultant battery electrochemist Dr Euan McTurk said: “We’re producing an all-electric taxi with more range, faster charging, a lower carbon footprint and a substantially smaller price tag than existing plug-in Hackney Cab options. FlexiMod will not only decarbonise the taxi sector in its first application, but many more automotive sectors beyond it. [The technology] will be made available to any vehicle manufacturer or retrofitter, even in low volumes to niche vehicle builders. Supply of quality cells and modules has long been a constraint of this burgeoning industry, especially for smaller firms, but FlexiMod looks set to resolve this issue.”

The project is expected to last 6 months, due to be completed in February 2022.

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