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Heathrow electric taxi charge-point prices spiral forcing cabbies to run off petrol engines

Updated: Dec 13, 2020

High electric taxi charging costs brought in by Heathrow Airport has forced drivers to run off more cost effective petrol range extenders.

The high cost of charging has now seen the rapid chargers lie largely unused, with it being cheaper to run the new LEVC TX electric taxi off the petrol ‘extended range’ system within the vehicles.

The price cabbies must pay to use the charging facilities at Heathrow now stands at over 39p/kW. In comparison, prices at motorway stations are usually set at around 30p/kW and rapid charges located in central London are priced between 20-30p/kW.

According to sources, Heathrow received a £165,000 grant from the capital’s transport regulators Transport for London (TfL) to support the installation of rapid chargers in the taxi feeder park.

Currently there are seven chargers available to accommodate the growing number of cab drivers supporting the move to cleaner vehicles and also servicing the airport. The charge points are 50kWh rapid chargers at a unit cost of approximately £25,000 each.

Since the introduction of the high tariff set in November 2018, they have remained largely dormant.

It was argued that the high price increases ‘negates the ZEC capability of the vehicle, thus unnecessarily adding to the local pollution’.

Last week, the subject was brought to the attention of the London Mayor Sadiq Khan during the mayor’s monthly question time session with the London Assembly.

Caroline Pidgeon, a Liberal Democrat London Assembly Member, asked the London Mayor: “What are you going to do to sort this out so that the chargers that you fund, TfL funds and the public funds are fully accessible and also charge a fair price for electricity?”

Sadiq Khan responded by saying: “This is a really important point, which is that in our keenness to get the rapid charging points up and running, the deals done with the private sector need to be sustainable in the long term. We think the Government has a really useful role to play with its economies of scale and buying power and convening power. We are talking to the DfT and the Government about how they can help us in relation to getting a good deal.

“However, you are right to remind me to make sure that the deals TfL do are good in the long term. For example, it is possible we do a good deal with a private sector that in the first three years or the first six years is great, but what happens after that initial setup of the rapid charging points? We will continue to pursue this and also make sure we can get the help of the Government to get better deals all round.”

Image credit: Cliff Mahoney

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