The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, today (Thursday 16 January) announced plans that would require all new London taxis to be zero emission capable from January 2018.
The new vehicles will need to be able to run on battery power alone in some areas of the capital in order to improve air quality in readiness for an Ultra-Low Emission Zone planned for central London by 2020.
Mayor of London, Boris Johnson said, “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.”
Garrett Emmerson, TfL Surface Transport Chief Operating Officer, said, “We are working with the wider industry and the Green Investment Bank to provide assistance to cab drivers who want to be among the first to get behind the wheel of these cutting edge vehicles that will significantly contribute to improving air quality in the capital as well as delivering benefits to cabbies themselves, in terms of reduced running costs.”
Five vehicle manufacturers presented plans to develop zero emission capable taxis including Frazer-Nash, Nissan, Karsan, London Taxi Company and Mercedes-Benz.
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 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 Mayor has already delivered on a number of measures to address emissions from taxis and to retire the oldest vehicles in the London taxi fleet. 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-5 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.
Plans to green the taxi fleet are part of the Mayor and TfL’s programme of measures to improve air quality in London, including tighter Low Emission Zone standards; growing Europe’s largest fleet of hybrid buses; accelerating the introduction of ultra-low emission Euro-6 buses; retrofitting 900 older buses to reduce their NOx emissions and introducing pure electric buses.