Interesting story in the Evening Standard tonight. The suggestion is that by 2018 all black cabs will have to be electric or possibly hybrid. It would certainly heighten awareness of alternatives to traditional forms of transport.
My brother-in-law is a London Black cabbie. They have to buy their own cabs and I can tell you now that there is not a chance this will happen unless the government pay to replace their cabs!
If this suggestion exists then it is just that... a suggestion...
Also, where are all these cab going to charge? It would need thousands of rapids in places where they can park up and charge! They don't have time to even hang around for 30 mins when they have work to do so no... it is totally impractical on so many levels in that time frame. Eventually, sure, but I would imagine that 2030 might be a more realistic target seeing as cabs are normally good for 15 years before replacement.
It would be a great move for London. But having seen Nissan and now Frazer-Nash's new designs, boy are they fugly!
Frazer-Nash's MetroCab is a hybrid but Nissan are proposing a full EV variant of their NV200 van taxi platform with custom steering to meet the Hackney Carriage turning circle requirements and a custom front end to emulate London cab. Neither are as elegant as the current design IMO.
The story states that taxi makers have been told by Boris that London cabs will have to have zero emission capability to gain a licence by January 2018. This deadline has been brought forward from 2020 as the Mayor seeks to replace diesel cabs. Ultra Low Emission Zones will be brought in by 2020 under which only zero emission vehicles will be allowed in central London. The number of charge points is to quadruple to 6,000 and grants are to be available to cabbies via The Green Investment Bank and the Office of Low Emission Vehicles. The Green Party leader Jenny Jones warned that the charging network was not up to the job and the Mayors original target of 25,000 charging points should be progressed.
As with all politicians, their comments are often crafted for a specific audience and Boris's comments were made at an exhibition of hybrid and all-electric taxis by five manufacturers. Nevertheless, if there is political will for a project, it might happen. But as Paul points out, I doubt the average cabbie will be too happy with the economics. Out of interest, does anyone know how many miles an average cab does in a day? From speaking to many over the years, I know it's quite common for them to often live a long way out of London.
This is all complete and utter green wash and quite frankly rubbish!
The number of so called "charge points" is totally irrelevant in the taxi argument as taxis will not be able to just park up for hours at a slow charging post. In fact, the taxi argument aside, the media is just soaking up the OLEV propaganda about the number of charge points.
Sorry but regardless of what our friend Boris says the practicalities will prevent it in those timescales. The only way I can see EV taxis working in London is if the taxis all have induction charging, all the taxi ranks have induction charging pads throught their length AND there are sufficient rapid charging locations, with 10 min charge times for when a cab can't pick up enough charge via induction.
The shear scale of this is immense not to mention how would the cabs be billed for the power they use.
Please don't misunderstand me... I want EV cabs in London. But Boris has gone off on one in the cute way that he does without giving any consideration to what is even possible! It makes good PR and that is why he does it.