100 new EV chargers turning London’s black cabs green

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan announced today that 51 of today’s 100 new rapid charger installations in the capital will be reserved for the new clean, quiet electric black cabs.

There are about 2,000 standard EV charging points throughout London serving its estimated 12,000 electric vehicles. Europe as a whole should hit the 1 Million EV milesotne very soon and the Netherlands is installing a new generation of fast chargers that boast lightning speed. London’s new stations will charge a vehicle in 20 to 30 minutes, compared to the seven or eight hours it takes at the standard points.

Electric black cabs arrived on London streets for testing last October. In January they were safety-approved to carry public passengers. And it’s not just the cab that is changing. So is the name of its maker. The entity known for years as the London Taxi Company is now the London Electric Vehicle Company, or LEVC.

Introducing the cab last year, Chris Gubbey, the CEO of LEVC, said  “The launch of LEVC marks Britain’s leadership as a first mover in creating the world’s only dedicated electric vehicle company for the urban commercial market.”

Have a tour of the new London e-cab

While the goings on under the hood (or ‘bonnet’ in the British vernacular) have changed, the outside of the cabs will be comfortingly familiar. The rectangular grill and circular headlights are slightly altered but mainly intact, and you will still be able to recognize the iconic roof line.

Inside There is still space for 6 passengers, along with amenities like Wi-Fi and mobile phone charging. The drivers will have a new touch screen to work with.

The city is serious about cleaning up. As of this year no more diesel taxis are being licensed, and all taxis that are licensed for the first time need to be zero-emission capable.

A £42 million fund (85M US$) is already available to encourage the owners of the oldest, most-polluting diesel black cabs to retire them from the capital’s fleet.

Electric lets London cabs compete better against Uber

The owners of black cabs between 10 and 15 years old can apply for a grant of up to £5,000 ($7,000) in exchange for retiring their taxi, and cabbies purchasing new Zero-Emission Capable (ZEC) taxis can receive up to £7,500 ($10,500) towards the purchase of the vehicle.

The financing also gives cab owners an ability to participate in the financial advantages of electric vehicles. While Uber and private cabs have been free from the black cab’s strict regulations and free to use EVs, now the black cab owners will be able to save an estimated £400 ($560) a month  in fuel.

The city’s Transport for London (TfL) office forecasts that by the end of 2020, almost half – 9,000 of London’s 21,000 taxis –will be zero emission capable vehicles.

While London is a long way from its famous pea-soupers that were a combination of diesel fumes, coal smoke and fog, the air still has a long way to improve. Switching taxis to electric propulsion is a key part of it. Taxis are are responsible for 16 per cent of NOx (nitrous oxide) and almost a third (31%) of Particulate Matter in central London. A greener fleet could reduce harmful NOx emissions from taxis by 45 per cent.

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