The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, announced plans that would require all new taxis presented for licensing in the capital to be zero-emission capable from 1 January 2018, with the expectation that they will automatically operate in zero-emission mode while in areas where the capital’s air quality is at its worst—such as parts of central London.
The Mayor confirmed his plan at Transport for London’s (TfL’s) “New Taxis for London” event, at which he met five manufacturers developing zero emission capable taxis—Frazer-Nash, Nissan, Karsan, London Taxi Company and Mercedes-Benz. The new zero-emission capable taxis being developed include both plug-in full series hybrid vehicles and full electric models.
To assist taxi drivers and encourage the early adoption of the new greener vehicles before the 2018 deadline, the Mayor and TfL are now exploring a number of supporting measures with the Office of Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) and are in discussion with the Green Investment Bank around financial options to help the capital’s transition to zero-emission capable taxis.
The London taxi is iconic in so many ways, not least in terms of its eye-catching looks and the way it is piloted by wily experts who know the capital like the back of their hand. To date its one Achilles heel, particularly of older models, has been the pollution generated by chugging diesel engines.
As part of my mission to improve our air quality and drive innovation, I’m making a firm pledge to Londoners that from 2018 all taxis presented for licensing should be zero emission capable. The cleaner, greener vehicles I’ve seen today are proof that the evolution of the great London cab is well and truly underway.—Mayor of London, Boris Johnson
TfL will continue to work with and support all the manufacturers right through to manufacture, to assist them in meeting London’s taxi vehicle requirements, including wheelchair and other accessibility requirements.
Through Source London the capital already has one of the most developed public charging networks in the world with almost 1,400 charge points. The scheme will be managed by IER, a subsidiary of the Bolloré Group, from the summer and they have ambitious plans to increase the number of charge points across the capital to 6,000 by 2018, with targeted services for taxi drivers.
The plan to introduce a requirement for all new taxis presented for licensing in the capital to be zero emission capable from 2018 will be subject to a full public consultation later this year. The Mayor will set out his plans and will urge the public, the taxi trade, taxi vehicle manufacturers and any other interested parties to submit their views.
Last year the Mayor pledged to introduce an Ultra Low Emission Zone in central London by 2020. Since then TfL has been exploring ways to introduce the scheme in 2020 and have focused on the development of options. Further engagement on the options for an Ultra Low Emission Zone will be undertaken this year.
Currently road transport is responsible for around 80% of airborne pollution in the parts of central London where air quality is the worst, with black cabs contributing to 30% of particulate matter emissions in those areas.
In January 2012, a 15-year age limit was introduced for taxis along with a requirement that all newly licensed taxis must meet, as a minimum, the Euro V emissions standard. Around 3,000 of the most polluting taxis have also been removed from the London fleet.
TfL has also undertaken a campaign to educate drivers on the fuel savings and reduced environmental impact that can be achieved by not leaving their engines idling at taxi ranks.