London’s famous public hire taxis have been getting greener – and now the capital’s private hire fleet is following the same route.
Since January 1, all new private hire taxis licensed for the first time must be able to operate in zero-emission mode. Vehicles that fail to meet the greener criteria will not be granted licenses.
The rules, brought in by Transport for London, are aimed at increasing the number of greener private hire vehicles in Greater London.
As part of TfL’s drive to cut pollution on the capital’s roads, all newly licensed private hire vehicles less than 18 months old had to be zero-emission-capable. This includes pure electric vehicles (EVs), hydrogen vehicles and hybrid electric vehicles with a zero-emission mode.
Since the changes on January 1, 2020, 25 per cent of Greater London’s private hire taxis now have a zero-emissions mode.
Edie, the business media brand which promotes sustainability in business, reports that the tighter rules are aimed at pushing this percentage higher as London works towards net-zero carbon emissions by 2030 and towards its air quality goals.
Continuing its drive to cut pollution, TfL has already pushed many major minicab operators into action with its climate and clean air plans.
Edie reports that as a result, Uber launched its EV request offering across all of Greater London last year and is working with drivers to ensure that every vehicle offered in London by 2025 is pure electric.
The benefit for drivers is that those using Uber Green take a higher cut of the ride price and can access funding towards leasing or purchasing an EV.
But while forcing more private hire drivers into greener taxis, TfL has addressed some of the major issues for taxi drivers – the range of their vehicles and the number of charging points.
TfL reassured drivers that there are 11,000 EV charging points in Greater London, with more than 800 fast or ultra-rapid chargers.
And the aim is for the capital to add more than 40,000 by 2030, with at least 10% of these being rapid chargers which can fully charge an average pure electric car’s battery in up to 30 minutes.
TfL director of licensing and regulation Helen Chapman told Edie: “Drivers will benefit from London’s extensive charging network when needing somewhere to plug in.
“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.
“The switch to electric will also mean cheaper fuel costs when compared with petrol or diesel.”
While recent rises in energy costs have led people to question the running costs, of EVs, the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit think-tank 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.
This is reassuring for private hire and black cab EV drivers looking to ensure their business is sustainable both financially and environmentally.
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