Sunday, August 07, 2016

Letter To Taxi Leaks Regarding Gas Conversion Costs.

Hi Jim ... my cab is 14 years old but in good nick .. Was looking at the lpg @AutogasLPG conversion they are doing in Birmingham for £8k the same price you estimated in ur article… 

Having emailed back and forth .. Looks like hoping to get it passed in nov .. 
But like always upping the price for London £9k plus vat = £10,800, plus a new rad and exhaust recommended ... I will enclosed a couple of the emails so you can see if you are interested.

Email 1 from Auke Faber:
Thanks for your interest in the project. As you have heard from my Colleague Kirsty, we will hopefully start the trial in the next few weeks and if all goes well, we should have a good result before the end of the year.

We already have a converted trial vehicle and 1 additional vehicle standing by, but thank you for offering your services for the trail.

The trial will be performed with a TX2. We are looking into asking whether the approval would also apply for the TX1 as the new engine will be the same for all 3 TX models and the TX1 and 2 share the same gearbox.

The engine we install is a brand-new 2.0L Turbo Opel engine. It is a current engine in the Vauxhall Astra VXR, it is designed to produce 280Bhp, but is detuned to match the power and have a similar torque-curve to the diesel engine it replaces.

The range on LPG is up to 300-400 miles depending on drivestyle and environment (city/motorway)

The conversion itself will take 2,5-3 days and costs around £9,000.- plus VAT. It includes:

-          Brand new 2.0L Turbo Opel engine

-          Adapterplate to match the original gearbox

-          LPG system incl 100 Liter LPG tank (80 Liter usable volume) and a 12 Liter petrol tank.

-          Full conversion fitted, all new parts.

We will ask you to buy the radiator and exhaust that we offer, as a safety. A used exhaust is most likely clogged up with soot. Both of good quality and price.

The tank is installed in the boot. The spare wheel can be relocated to the front or replaced by a spraycan solution (sufficient for MOT). The diesel tank is removed and a small 12 Liter petrol tank is installed in it’s place.

At the moment 13 operating Birmingham taxi’s are using this solution (both TX1 and TX2) and are very happy with them. The engine is powerful, quiet and without vibration. Running on LPG also means a fuel saving which we estimated at 20%, but the drivers are reporting higher and are saving up to £50 per week. Both Birmingham and London will give a life-extension of the cab of 5 years added to the age-limit in the city.

In Birmingham a total of 63 cabs will be converted as part of a Government Scheme.

I would like to forward your details to our London agent, so they can keep you up to date with the progress, if that’s ok?

I’m assuming you are currently driving a TX1?

Please feel free to contact me for any additional information about the conversion.

Best regards,

Auke Faber

Conversion Scheme Advisor

I wrote back pointing out the discrepancy in pricing.
Email 2.
Yes, the price has increased. Mostly because of the Brexit, the Pound has dropped compared to the euro. Most of the systems components are bought and developed in The Netherlands. So at the moment the system is sold at a loss in Birmingham where the price was fixed in the Birmingham project.

It is still not clear what the final price will be as some parts will become cheaper due to bigger numbers and other parts get more expensive due to improved performance based on the first results. If the pound picks up, this should also help the project.

We are hoping the price will come down, but we thought it might be better to aim for a higher price, if the price comes down people will respond better than if you promote a lower price, which ends up higher.

Hopefully in a few months the price will be set.

I don’t know precisely the price of the exhaust, but I believe the radiator is 60 pounds.

Best regards,

Auke Faber

Conversion Scheme Advisor

I replied.

Hi , 

London taxi drivers have been told the conversion would be £8,000 , we have been given information like this…  with the actual conversion being £10.800 after vat plus radiator and exhaust you will probably find it a difficult market without grants. 

The reason I point this out is because the whole taxi fleet of fairways and TX1's were forced to buy highly inflated priced conversion kits to bring the taxis up to euro 3 , everyone of those companies went into liquidation leaving drivers with no parts or warranty on the conversions.

The whole trade felt ripped off , if your conversion is going to be £11,000 instead of the £8,000 being charged in Birmingham , they are liable to be scepticle.

I don't mean to cause offence by pointing this out, but feel you should be aware of what has happened re conversions in the past.