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LOWER THE VAT: Black taxi drivers demand Government action for easier switch to electric

Updated: Apr 28

Image credit: InstaVolt

London’s black cab drivers are urging for better governmental support to speed up their transition to electric vehicles (EVs). This includes a proposal to cut VAT on public EV chargers to 5%—the same rate as domestic chargers—and to increase access to rapid charging stations.

Currently, approximately 60% of London's nearly 15,000 black cabs are electric or zero-emission capable. However, drivers and representatives at the Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association (LTDA) believe that reduced VAT and better infrastructure could significantly speed up the shift to a fully electric fleet.

In a bid to demonstrate potential improvements, LTDA has partnered with InstaVolt, one of the UK's top rapid charging network. InstaVolt has recently inaugurated its largest ultra-rapid EV charging hub in Syon Park, Brentford. While the hub is intended for all EV users, it particularly benefits taxi drivers due to its strategic location near major transport links like the M4 and Heathrow Airport.

InstaVolt is also showing its support by temporarily reducing the cost of charging by 15% at its stations across London. This gesture aims to align with the black cab drivers’ campaign for VAT reduction on public chargers.

The push for electric taxis aligns with Transport for London’s (TfL) broader environmental goals, which include making London net zero-carbon by 2030. Since 2018, new taxis in the city are required to be zero emission capable, but many argue that more aggressive measures are needed to meet these targets.

Simon Smith, InstaVolt’s Chief Commercial Officer, said: “Black cabs are part of the capital’s fabric and we’re thrilled to be supporting them with our expanding network across London and fantastic new super hub at iconic Syon Park.


“Cabbies are busy people for whom quite literally time is money and they need ready access to reliable charging solutions so they can get back on the road as quickly as possible, making InstaVolt the perfect partner. At Syon Park and across our network, cabbies can benefit from our industry leading 99%+ reliability as well as accessing a whole host of amenities. While their cabs are charging, they can meet up with their fellow drivers, enjoy a cuppa and be back on the road in minutes.


“We are also delighted to be supporting the black cab drivers in their fight for lower prices for on-street public charging by self-removing 15% of our charging cost, effectively leaving a 5% element inline with the VAT for home charging.”

Steve McNamara, General Secretary of the LTDA, said: “Rapid charging superhubs like this fantastic facility are key to expanding the charging network in London and ensuring drivers can always find a place to charge their cab and benefit from amenities while they wait.”


“Well over half of London’s black cabs are now electric but the shortage of rapid public charging points and rising cost of charging remain barriers to wider uptake of electric taxis. Reducing the VAT on public charging, bringing it into line with home chargers, would help level the playing field for those drivers unable to charge at home as well as supporting drivers with mounting operating costs. We hugely appreciate InstaVolt’s gesture of removing the VAT equivalent themselves to demonstrate the positive impact such a reduction would have.”  


Quintin Willson, transport campaigner and original Top Gear presenter, said: “FairCharge has campaigned for three years repeatedly asking the Treasury to cut the VAT on public EV charging, and help reduce costs for those electric car drivers who can’t charge at home. Affordability is one of the key levers to mass EV adoption. I’m really encouraged to see InstaVolt symbolically reduce their prices, to reflect the difference a VAT cut would make, and for the LTDA and all their EV cab drivers to join the campaign. Hopefully this will help HMT appreciate that reducing the tax on electricity for public EV charging is an important lever for increasing EV adoption."


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