London bans new taxis that are not zero-emission capable
All private hire vehicles licensed in London for the first time in 2023 must be capable of operating in zero-emission mode, under new rules implemented by Transport for London (TfL).
TfL has confirmed that the change came into effect on Sunday (1 January).
Since the start of 2020, all private hire vehicles (the most common kind being minicabs) under 18 months old and licenced for the first time in London needed to be zero-emission-capable. This term refers to pure electric vehicles (EVs), hydrogen vehicles and hybrid electric vehicles with a zero-emission mode.
This change, TfL has confirmed, means that 25% of private hire vehicles operating in Greater London are now zero-emission-capable, including 6,000 black cabs.
The new, tighter rule should push this percentage higher as London works towards net-zero carbon emissions by 2030 and towards its air quality goals. London is aiming to bring PM2.5 in London in line with the World Health Organisation’s recommended limit by 2030, while the national target is 2040. Road transport is, at present, the biggest contributor to the capital’s PM2.5 pollution.
TfL has stated that many major minicab operators are already being pushed into action by its climate and clean air plans. Uber, for example, launched its EV request offering across all of Greater London in April 2022 and is working with drivers to ensure that every vehicle offered in London by 2025 is pure electric. Drivers using ‘Uber Green’ take a higher cut of the ride price and can access funding towards leasing or purchasing an EV.
TfL has reassured cab drivers that there is a sufficient level of charging infrastructure to support their shift to an EV or hybrid. Greater London hosts some 11,000 EV charging points, of which more than 800 are fast or ultra-rapid. The aim is for the capital to add at least 40,000 more by 2030 and to ensure that at least 10% of these are rapid. This term refers to points that are capable of fully charging up the average pure electric car’s battery within 30 minutes or less.
In the near future, TfL is making some of its land available for EV charging point construction this year. 100 charging points are set to be installed before 2023 ends.
‘Drivers will benefit from London’s extensive charging network when needing somewhere to plug in,” said TfL’s director of licencing and regulation Helen Chapman.
“’We know that with the boom in electric vehicles, many more charging sites will be needed. London is on track to meet these projections, which we are supporting by making public land available and ensuring the fast charging points a world city needs are being built at pace and in significant numbers.”
Chapman added: “The switch to electric will also mean cheaper fuel costs when compared with petrol or diesel.”
To this point, the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU) estimates that the average petrol car was 3.4 times more expensive to run in the UK in 2022 than the average pure electric car. Yet the think-tank found that high upfront costs of EVs prevented many motorists from making the switch, especially given two consecutive rounds of reductions in the level of funding available for each person under the plug-in car grant scheme in 2021.
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