Technology is changing at rapid speed, and so is mobility. Around the world, personal car ownership is falling, Governments are introducing policies to cut air pollution, and we see an increasing number of e-mobility platforms connecting people, businesses and cities. As a result, despite rising competition, the taxi and especially the electric taxi will play a more significant role in urban mobility – with experts predicting further growth in the sector.
With this in mind, I’ve joined The London Taxi Company (LTC) at an exciting time. LTC is currently testing its new Range Extended Electric Taxi. This vehicle will help global cities achieve air quality targets, provide front facing wheel chair access without advanced booking, and give both drivers and passengers with an enhanced experience.
Our new black cab boasts an impressive zero emission range supported by a range extender to remove any range anxiety for driver or passenger. Most importantly, as an electrically driven cab it will have, by far, the lowest fuel costs of any vehicle that we’ve produced. It is perhaps no surprise that 80% of London cab drivers support the transition!
Yet, for taxi drivers to be able to make the move to low emission cabs, and realise these savings, they need access to reliable, well-maintained, easily accessible fast or rapid (22/50kW) charging networks that are dedicated for taxis. This is because, whilst the public, on average, drives no more than 30 miles per day, a taxi will travel anywhere from 130 miles to 300 miles per day. As such, they need to charge more frequently and can’t afford to wait for a public charge point to become available. As such, for governments to achieve their air quality targets (and the taxi trade to adopt these vehicles in volume) there needs to be a critical mass of dedicated taxi charging.
Fortunately, taxis (and indeed all commercial vehicles) justify government and private sector investment in strategically located charging infrastructure. Taxis will ensure higher utilisation of the network and therefore offer a quicker ROI. This can be delivered in a blend of solutions from on-street to EV Hubs in strategic locations.
Roaming or interoperability is crucial. Drivers really don’t want to subscribe to multiple schemes, which would mean a wallet full of RFID cards. They just want to turn up and charge up. Some countries like the Netherlands have succeeded while other countries are a little further behind but have roaming on the horizon, they just need support to deliver.
To achieve this, we need a joined up approach between government, the taxi trade and CPNOs. It will happen but from an industry perspective we’d just like to see the change happen quicker! However, there is a willingness from all stakeholders to provide the right solutions for our customers, so I’m positive about the future.
LTC is leading the charge, if you want to keep up to date, check out theelectrictaxi.co.uk.
Special thanks to Richard Turnbull, Head of Infrastructure at LTC, for writing this guest blog post.
Interested in more about LTC’s zero emission efforts? Attend the keynote at rEVolution 2017.