Powertrain Ltd, part of Phoenix Venture Holdings and supplier of engines and gearboxes to MG Rover Group, has announced a pilot programme to encourage taxi drivers in its home city of Birmingham, in the English Midlands, to reduce exhaust emissions.

In cooperation with Birmingham City Council and as part of ‘Don’t Choke Britain Events’, the company handed over the keys of the first cab to Ruth Watts, secretary of the Birmingham Taxi Cooperative.

The cab is the first officially licensed cab in Birmingham to run on liquefied petroleum gas (LPG).

Powertrain claims its K Series engine with LPG conversion is 50% quieter than current diesel taxi engines and reduces CO2 by 29%, NOx levels by 95% and particulate emissions by 92% compared to the current levels.

Conversions will be supported by the Energy Savings Trust, a UK government agency established to approve and provide grants for such conversions.

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“In due course we hope to see the initiative spread to London and other cities where the famous British black cab is well established,” said Powertrain commercial director Gordon Poynter.

Powertrain will shortly invite Birmigham black cab drivers to a presentation on the economic and environmental benefits of the K Series LPG conversion.