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EXTENDED RANGE: Why a fully electric taxi just won’t work as a commercial cab right now

Image credit: LEVC

The UK taxi industry would face significant hurdles adopting fully electric taxis, chiefly due to inadequate charging infrastructure and the unpredictable nature of taxi drivers' daily routes.

Throughout much of the UK, public charging facilities for electric vehicles remain sparse or unpredictably maintained, complicating the switch from traditional fuel to electric for taxi operators. This scarcity is compounded by high energy costs and the inclusion of 20% VAT on public charging, making it a costly option for drivers.

Additionally, many taxi drivers lack access to off-street parking, a necessity for home charging setups and more affordable charging. This limitation is seen as a major barrier for drivers considering the switch to fully electric, as they would not reliably be able to charge their vehicles overnight, while they slept or rested.

The unpredictable distances that taxis cover daily further complicates the transition. Drivers often do not know their destination ahead of time, making it difficult to manage battery life and ensure they can complete their shifts without the need to recharge.

Moreover, larger battery capacities, which could alleviate range anxiety, bring their own challenges. For example, a 300-mile range battery requires more than 10 hours to charge using a standard 7 kW home charger. Given the commercial work requirements, taxi vehicle are required to sometimes work on a daily basis. This lengthy charging process to fully charge would be impractical, forcing drivers to rely on more expensive rapid charging stations during work hours. This not only increases costs but also cuts into potential earnings.

For the moment, hybrid vehicles present a more viable option for the taxi industry. They allow for the flexibility of petrol use while providing some benefits of electric power, such as in the LEVC TX model, which incorporates both an engine and a battery without compromising on efficiency.

Until the UK significantly improves its public charging network and addresses the associated high costs, the taxi industry's transition to fully electric vehicles will likely be gradual. Hybrid models remain the practical choice under the current circumstances.


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