Cabbies charged up over electric change

80% of London’s taxi drivers are interested in switching to new ultra-low emission taxis. The switch to this electrically driven taxi, due on the road next year, could lead to a dramatic improvement in London’s air quality.

A new survey conducted by the black cab manufacturer, the London Electric Vehicle Company (LTC), shows that 80 percent of London taxi drivers are either “interested” or “very interested” in buying a zero emission capable taxi (also known as Zero Emission Capable by TfL) once they start running off the production line next year.

Deputy Mayor for Transport, Valerie Shawcross said

“We need to take every step we can to clean up London’s polluted air. It’s great to hear taxi drivers are ready to play their part, and the use of new zero-emission taxis will make a significant difference. We are committed to helping the industry thrive and will be working with TfL to ensure that we do everything we can to make sure this vital transition as quick and easy as possible.”

This level of interest is why LTC are looking to engage with and work with London’s government to improve the city’s sustainable infrastructure and to ensure London improves its air quality for all its people by introducing a minimum of 150 rapid charging points by 2018 and 300 by 2020 across London.

This is backed up in a report published today by the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee which argues: “Drivers with internal combustion engines enjoy a comprehensive network of commercial filling stations, but the charging network for plug-in and hybrid electric vehicles remains limited. The UK has public charging points at over 4,000 locations; rapid chargers are available at approximately 700 of these.”

Chris Gubbey, CEO of LTC, said

LTC supports the Mayor’s pledge to make tackling air quality in London a top priority – and now we can see taxi drivers want this too. It is down to us to work together with the relevant authorities to ensure the right infrastructure is in place"

"LTC has manufactured the black cab in the UK for 69 years, and is investing £300 million in bringing a UK-built Zero Emissions Capable taxi to UK and international markets by 2018. We believe we can lead the charge in ensuring London’s air quality returns to safe and legal levels and believe that London can lead the world in zero emissions urban transport,” added Gubbey.

An ultra-low emission taxi was one of the key aspirations of the taxi trad Faster, Greener, Smarter campaign earlier this year. That action plan was the first time cab drivers, tech companies and the manufacturer came together to provide a clear vision for the future of the taxi trade in London. A number of the proposals set out in the action plan have already been introduced by the new Mayoral Team.

This survey of drivers was conducted in partnership with ride hailing apps Hailo and Gett – commonly used by London Taxi drivers.

Barbara Stoll, Senior Air Pollution Campaigner at Greenpeace, said:

The fact that cab drivers are keen to move to zero emissions taxis is a good reminder that all Londoners support the fight for clean and safe air. The sooner businesses embrace this type of technology, the faster they will be ahead of the rest and this same logic applies to our cities. In order to put an end to the air pollution health crisis, we need to think big. A wider adoption of EVs requires solid infrastructure and charging points.”