London’s new black cabs must run on electric batteries from 2018, TfL orders

Introduction of electric cabs will reduce pollution from diesel engines

London’s appalling pollution problem is largely due to the huge rise in the use of diesel engines in recent years.

With over 9,500 deaths in London every year from long term exposure to air pollution, TfL is pushing forward with plans to introduce an “ultra-low emissions zone” in the centre of town.

A central tranche of the plan is the introduction of new models of black cabs, which will no longer run on diesel, and must be able to run on an electric battery from 2018, TfL has said.

But cabbies don’t need to worry. The rules will only apply to newly licensed vehicles, and current vehicles will remain legal until they are decommissioned.

However, TfL will make extra money available to increase the speed of take up of new vehicles.

Despite this measure, the rules mean that current diesel cabs could remain on the streets of London until 2032.

The rule change is likely to anger cabbies who are already fighting growing competition from minicabs in London, as minicabs will not have to be able to run on battery power until 2020. Though this two year gap is offset over the long term, by rules that minicabs must be capable of running without producing any emissions at all, by 2023, regardless of when they were first licensed.

On Monday, Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: “The taxi and minicab trades have a crucial role to play in helping to improve London’s air quality.

“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.”

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