In a noteworthy development, approximately 50% of London's famed fleet of black taxis are now electric vehicles (EVs), according to an announcement from manufacturer LEVC and Transport for London (TfL). Most of these EVs are manufactured by Geely's LEVC, marking a significant shift considering the entire fleet was previously solely diesel-powered. The purpose-built black taxis, recognized for their stringent regulations and cabbies' unique navigation skills known as “the Knowledge,” are equipped with a battery providing 62.5 miles of range, complemented by a 1.5-liter petrol engine as an onboard generator.
Transport for London's Helen Chapman acknowledged the milestone, stating, “Reaching this milestone is a great reflection of how London is working hard to be a greener, more sustainable, environmentally friendly city.” The announcement coincides with Uber's recent decision to list London's black taxis in its app, despite opposition from some taxi industry representatives. Uber aims to win over cabbies with enticing incentives, including a bonus package for new sign-ups and a six-month service fee waiver for black taxi drivers following the service's launch.
TfL has been proactive in promoting cleaner transportation, requiring all new cabs licensed in London to be zero-emissions capable since 2018, with the rule extended to private minicabs last year. Additionally, London's largest taxi and minicab services are committed to transitioning to fully electric fleets by 2025, aligning with the city's efforts to enhance environmental sustainability.
The integration of electric black taxis into Uber's app is set to begin early next year, with the move seen as a significant win for Uber in a city where it faced previous bans and challenges from taxi drivers. While some stakeholders express reservations about the partnership, Uber's strategic incentives aim to encourage black taxi drivers to embrace the collaboration.