Half of London’s black cab fleet is now made up of zero-emission vehicles, manufacturer LEVC and Transport for London (TfL) announced. According to the latest figures, of the capital’s 14,690 licensed taxis, 7,972 are battery electric vehicles (BEVs), with the majority made by Geely’s LEVC. In the last month alone, the number of these models has increased by a rather dramatic 10 percent.

“Achieving this milestone is a great reflection of how London is working hard to become a greener, more sustainable and environmentally friendly city,” said TfL’s Helen Chapman. “London’s black cabs are recognized around the world and we are proud that so many drivers are helping to clean the air.”

However, new drivers had no choice in the matter because from 2018, TfL requires all new taxis licensed in the city to be zero-emission (last year this rule was also extended to private minibuses). Taxi drivers with existing licenses were also motivated to change, because all who still use less environmentally friendly vehicles must pay a daily rate from 2020 to drive in the very low emission zone in central London. The daily rate is now approximately 355 Czech crowns, or 12.50 British pounds.

Many of London’s larger taxi and minibus operators have pledged that by 2025 they will have fully electric fleets. The city’s largest operator, Addison Lee (which uses VW ID 4 cars), has said it will reach this target by 2023. London’s black cabs are mostly independently owned and licensed under TfL’s strict rules. Uber recently announced that London’s black cabs will be featured on its appand although some drivers signed up, many condemned the plan.

Source: engadget.com