An In-Depth Look At Our Eco Fleet

At ABC Taxis, we prioritise efficiency as well as the comfort of our drivers and passengers alike. As a company, we are conscious of the effects of road transportation on the environment. That is why our eco fleet of taxis consists entirely of top-of-the-range hybrid cars and efficient minivans. Curious about our eco vehicles? Join us on an in-depth tour of their key specifications and highlights to find out what makes them comfortable, efficient, and environmentally friendly. 

(Please note that all of the below vehicles are available with a variety of options, and we have selected particular ones to give you an idea of their specifications. The below specifications do not apply to all of our cars.)

Toyota Auris Estate

toyota auris estate
The Toyota Auris Estate, via Auto Trader

The Toyota Auris Touring Sports (aka estate) hybrid is well-known as a reliable and competent vehicle. The more recent revival of the Corolla in hybrid form (which also features in our fleet), has largely replaced the Auris as Toyota’s go-to hybrid car. However, the Auris still has many admirable features, including its unfussy, functional design and spacious interior. 

The Auris hybrid is often complimented for how relaxing it is to drive thanks to its supple suspension and minimal noise both inside and out. It also has a spacious boot which makes it perfect for taking passengers to the airport or train station. 

Specifications (1.8L VVT-i Hybrid):

Power 134bhp / 100 kW
Battery capacity6.5 Ah
Top Speed112 mph
0-60 mph11 secs
CO293 g/km 
Emissions standardEuro 5
Fuel consumption70 mpg
Luggage Capacity507 L

Because the Auris has been around since 2009, it is not the most efficient of the hybrid vehicles available today. However, Toyota is a trailblazer in the world of electric cars, having released the first hybrid Prius in 1997. The Japanese manufacturer has proven time and time again that they are committed to constant innovation, and this can be seen in the newer hybrid Corollas. 

Toyota Corolla Estate 

toyota corolla estate landscape
The Toyota Corolla Hybrid, via Carbuyer

Named Car of the Year 2020: Hybrid Winner by WhatCar?, the Toyota Corolla Estate Hybrid is an undeniable industry leader. The especially efficient and smooth-driving new models have taken the Hyundai Ioniq’s place at the top of the ranks. Unsurprisingly, the car has excellent reviews, with frequently mentioned pros including its efficiency, super smooth handling, seamless transitions between electric petrol and electric power, spacious interior, and roomy boot. 

Specifications (1.8L VVT-i Hybrid):

Power 120 bhp
Battery capacity3.6 Ah
Top Speed111 mph
0-60 mph8.5 secs
CO276 to 83 g/km 
Emissions standardEuro 6 AM
Fuel consumption55.4 to 65.9 mpg 
Luggage Capacity598 L

Hyundai Ioniq

Many of our cabs at ABC taxis are Hyundai IONIQ Hybrids

The Hyundai Ioniq is also a leader in its field and a muti-award-winning one at that. The best thing about this hybrid vehicle is its ability to drive on electric power only, and therefore to travel decent distances (up to 39 miles for the Plug-In Hybrid) with zero emissions. In many ways, it is similar to the Kia Niro – both cars are sold in three electrified forms: a hybrid model (petrol engine + electric motor), a plug-in hybrid (with a bigger battery that can be charged externally for more range), and a pure electric vehicle (EV). 

Unlike many hybrids, which are fitted with CVT, single-speed gearboxes, both versions of the Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid have a six-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox, making it much smoother and quieter than the average CVT. The interior design of the Ioniq furthers the car’s exceptional efficiency, with lightweight materials selected specially to reduce the vehicle’s weight and fuel consumption. The car also has great aerodynamics, with a class-leading drag coefficient of only 0.24. 

Specifications (Hybrid 1.6 GDI):

Power 141 bhp
Battery capacity1.56 kWh
Top Speed115 mph
0-60 mph10.8 secs
CO284 g/km 
Emissions standardEuro 6d-Temp
Fuel consumption78.5 mpg 
Luggage Capacity443 L

Toyota Prius

A Prius+ hybrid car, via Toyota

As we have already mentioned, the hybrid Prius has been around for over 20 years, and it has evolved significantly over that time. Named Green Car of the Year 2016 by Auto Express, the Prius can drive at up to 36mph on electricity alone when sufficiently charged (if you’re gentle on the accelerator), meaning it is exceptionally quiet and relaxed for driving in the city. 

At motorway speeds, the petrol engine kicks in for additional power, but drivers say this is unobtrusive and still relatively quiet, emitting little more than a faint drone during steady driving. If you floor the accelerator, however, the CVT gearbox will send the revs shooting up and cause some engine boom. The Prius Hybrid is popular for its low servicing costs and excellent fuel economy, even when set to four-wheel drive. The Prius is also the most efficient non-plug-in hybrid. 

Specifications (1.8L Petrol Hybrid Automatic):

Power 122 bhp
Battery capacity7.2 Ah
Top Speed112 mph
0-62 mph10.8 secs
CO275 – 84 g/km 
Emissions standardEuro 6DG
Fuel consumption59.6 – 67.3mpg 
Luggage Capacity502 L

Mercedes-Benz Vito 

The Mercedes Vito Panel Van, via Motor1

The Mercedes Vito is a popular minivan among taxi firms, as it is designed to be ideal for urban operations and frequent recurring trips in terms of its efficiency. There are many options to choose from in the Mercedes Vito range, including diesel engines, the fully electric eVito, panel, crew, and tourer vans, and even the black cab edition. 

The Vito Tourer van offers comfortable seating for up to 9 people, as well as plenty of room for luggage. It’s available in various options, including three vehicle lengths and two trim lines, meaning the van is customisable and versatile. Many of these models include BlueEFFICIENCY packages as standard, meaning they come with smart eco features such as ECO start/stop which turns of the engine when stationary, a smart alternator which recharges the battery when coasting or braking, and rolling-resistance optimised tyres.  

Specifications (114 Tourer Pro L2 Auto):

Power 102 bhp
Battery capacity N/A
Top Speed120 mph
0-60 mph11.8 secs
CO2171 g/km 
Emissions standardEuro E6
Fuel consumption44 mpg 
Luggage Capacity550 L

KIA Niro 

Kia Niro

When talking about efficient cars and especially top-of-the-range hybrids, the KIA Niro is another one that is sure to be mentioned. Thanks to its SUV-like design, the Niro has a comfortable, spacious interior that allows for a natural seating position in the front and the back, as well as an excellent view of the road. 

The Niro Plug-In Hybrid, like most EVs, is practically silent in electric mode, and even its fuel engine is very quiet, making it very pleasant to drive. The regular hybrid, too, is often praised for the seamless (and nearly imperceptible) way the petrol engine and electric motor work together via its six-speed automatic gearbox. Like most hybrids, it also has a regenerative braking system to recover energy. 

Specifications (1.6 GTI Hybrid 3):

Power 139 bhp
Battery capacity8.9 to 15.6 kWh
Top Speed101 mph
0-60 mph11.1 secs
CO2100 g/km 
Emissions standardEuro 6
Fuel consumption65.7 mpg 
Luggage Capacity382 L


By riding with ABC Taxis, you can rest assured that the utmost care has been taken to ensure efficiency and comfort. We care not only about customer satisfaction, but we are also committed to doing our part to reduce non-renewable energy consumption, harmful emissions, and even noise pollution thanks to our expertly selected fleet of eco-cars.


A Brief History of British Taxis

When most people think about England, certain images like the Big Ben, the queen, red phone booths, double-decker buses, and black cabs will undoubtedly spring to mind. The taxi is as much a British phenomenon as afternoon tea or Sunday roast, having driven people from point A to point B since the 17th century. 

Millions of people rely on taxis to get around, but where did they come from? Join us on a ride through history as we uncover the complete journey of the taxicab in London. 

Beginnings: The Original Hackney Coach 

The first taxi was the simple horse-drawn carriage known as a Hackney Coach. (Of course, Hackney was the area of London notorious for its stables.) The concept was born during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, when wealthy Londoners struggled to keep up with the costs of maintaining horses, coaches, and drivers, and began to capitalise on their investments by making their coaches available for hire by lesser members of the gentry.


Depiction of an original four-wheeled Hackney Carriage, circa 19th century.

The First Taxi Rank

In 1625, there were around 20 Hackney Coaches for hire, operating largely out of inns and hotels. By 1634, a wealthy Londoner by the name of Captain John Bailey came up with a new, more systematic idea which seems so familiar to us now: the taxi rank. 

Bailey owned four Hackney carriages, which operated from the Maypole Inn, and charged set tariffs for travel to different areas of London. He began a system for his cabs, making drivers follow certain rules and regulations, and decorating the carriages in eye-catching designs for recognition from customers. This is arguably when taxicabs transformed from a local phenomenon to a much more commercially-minded business. 

Dropping Wheels: A New Design

Hackney carriages remained pretty much identical to how they were first developed for about two centuries, until they saw a significant transformation in 1823. A new, faster carriage with only two wheels arrived from France. Its name came along too, with the French word cabriolet quickly evolving into our still commonly used ‘cab’ and ‘cabbie’. 

The French model was adopted in England, most prominently influencing Joseph Aloysius Hansom of York to design and patent the notorious two-wheeled Hansom Cab. The Hansom Cab rapidly gained popularity and began to replace the Hackney Carriage, offering more stability and speed than its predecessor. They could be drawn by one horse alone, improving cost-effectiveness. Another major innovation in the taxi business around this time was the introduction of taximeters, which used mechanical clockwork to measure fares according to distance. 

A Hansom Cab design, via London Historians’ Blog

The Hansom cab also offered far more convenience for passengers, with a more protective cab, folding wooden doors to protect passengers from the elements, a roof hatch for communicating with and paying the driver, and a driver’s lever allowing him to open the doors for passengers. Hansom Cabs were very successful and continued to operate in London as well as other cities in the British Empire until the introduction of motor vehicles in the early 1900s. 

Premature Futurism: The First Electric Cab 

The Bersey, named after Walter C Bersey, was built in 1897 by the London Electrical Cab Company. It was the first attempt at commercialising electric taxis in the UK. Bersey cabs used traction batteries which were suspended from springs under the vehicle, and could travel up to 12mph. It weighed about 2 tonnes and could cover about 30 miles on a single full charge. 

A Bersey Cab in the Science Museum, London

Unfortunately, like most prototypes, the cabs were overly expensive, heavy, and unreliable, leading to several road accidents. The car was known as the ‘Hummingbird’ for the noise it made, but the name was not around for long. The vehicle quickly fell out of favour with taxi drivers and customers, and was abandoned entirely by 1900. Interestingly, electric cabs did not return to London’s streets until last decade (over a century later). 

The Introduction of Motors

In 1903, London cabs began to use combustion engines, which were far more reliable than their electric predecessors. The first examples of engine-powered cabs to appear in London included the prominent French Prunel, as well as British models called the Rational, Simplex, and Herald. 

In WWI, production of taxis came to a standstill while manufacturers switched to military production for the war effort. It was the 1920’s before London taxis were developed further and new cab designs appeared on the streets. There have been many variations and innovations of the London taxi, but the 1948 Austin FX3 is considered to have inspired the distinct style of current cabs. 

A 1955 Austin FX3, via Volo Auto Museum

Although the Austin FX3 had many rivals, it dominated the streets of London, and so did its new and improved 1958 successor, the FX4. By 1997, London Taxis International developed the TX1 model, followed by the TX2 in 2002. These models saw significantly improved interiors, allowing for far more passenger comfort as well as additions like digital screens. The latest variant, the TX4, will be the last of engine-powered London cabs. 

Back To Electric

With increasing concern surrounding fossil fuels and emissions, and increasing pressure to innovate, the electric London taxi is making a big comeback. Zero-emissions is the new standard, and taxi manufacturers are keeping up with electric models like the LEVC TX and the Ecotive Metrocab.

The LEVC TX electric London taxi, via Auto Express

More and more vehicles use electric energy rather than petrol around the country and the world, and this includes black cabs as well as taxis. Hopefully, passengers, drivers, and fleet owners alike will continue to drive innovation in more eco-friendly, sustainable transportation solutions. At ABC Taxis Norwich, for example, we are committed to doing our part to make a change thanks to our up-to-date fleet of eco-cars. 

Thank you for joining us on a journey through the ages, all the way back to the Elizabethan era when the first Hackney carriages were born, to the electric cars of the future. Happy cabbing!