Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, has announced plans to invest an extra £24m to help more black cab drivers switch to electric vehicles. The plans will more than double the TfL’s existing £18m fund. Additionally, grants will be restructured to provide more payments at higher levels.
1,000 more drivers are set to benefit from the maximum £10,000 payment from trading in their combustion vehicles for greener options. The total number of drivers who will benefit from the investment number above 5,000. If all drivers go with the programme, it is estimated to lower NOx taxis emissions by as much as 20%.
The push comes as London is working hard to improve the air quality. Black cabs are exempt from the emissions zones, but cause 20% of road emissions in central London, making them a good place to start clearing up emissions. By 2025, the Transport for London (TfL) proposal aims to improve taxi emissions by 65%. “Working with cabbies to reduce the number of polluting taxis is a key part of our plans to improve London’s air quality,” said Mayor Sadiq Khan.
The proposal also includes other rulings, such as a tightening of operations periods, with taxis not being allowed to operate for more than 15 years, as well as further reduction in the age limit for “the most polluting taxis to 12 years by 2022”. They also seek to remove automatic age limit exemptions for alternative fuel conversions, historic vehicles or personal circumstances. Alex Williams, Transport for London’s director of city planning said: “This package of measures will incentivise more drivers to buy the new clean taxis and speed up the rate the vehicles that emit the most harmful pollutants are being taken off the road.”
London has also been working on electrifying other forms of public transport, by providing £48 million (about 55M euros) to 19 municipalities in England and Wales to purchase 263 new electric buses and related infrastructure. Twenty of the buses will run on hydrogen. The new funding round will double the number of electric buses in the UK, according to the government. TfL will receive the largest single grant for 63 new electric buses.