Transport for London (TfL) has announced that from 2018 new black cabs and other licensed taxis will need to be ‘zero emission capable’.
The new rules will be put in place prior to the launch of London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) in 2020 which will put restrictions on vehicle emissions in order to reduce air pollution in the capital.
The zero emission capable stipulation will force all newly licenced taxis to employ hybrid or electric engine technology. In addition, new diesel taxis will not be allowed in London, although this will not prevent older vehicles from operating.
Mayor Boris Johnson and TfL have secured £65m of funding to help taxi drivers achieve a target of 9,000 taxis that meet the new conditions by 2020.
Up to £5,000 will be available to taxi drivers who want to decommission their vehicle once it reaches 10 years of age, with the exact amount depending on the age of the vehicle.
As well as this, a £5,000 plug-in car grant is available through the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV), to which a £3,000 'top-up' grant can be added. The same OLEV plug-in grant is also available for private hire drivers.
“The taxi and minicab trades have a crucial role to play in helping to improve London's air quality,” said Johnson.
“This is why we have made them a central part of our Ultra Low Emission Zone plans.”
“We understand this will take time and that is why we are giving financial assistance to help clean up these vehicle fleets. The Ultra Low Emission Zone is the most ambitious measure of its kind in the world and we need everyone on board for it to be a success.”
Last week, the London Taxi Company debuted a hybrid black cab model for 2017 called the TX5 (pictured above). The new vehicle comes with a super-efficient hybrid powertrain, enough room for six passengers, and an update to the traditional black cab design.
Last year, the automotive industry called for changes to the proposals laid out in the ULEZ plan to harmonise diesel and petrol-powered vehicle requirements.