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Mayor of London encouraged to share plans to ensure ‘affordable’ and ‘readily available’ black taxis

Updated: Jan 2, 2023

The Mayor of London was encouraged to outline what actions he plans to take to ensure ‘affordable’ and ‘readily available’ black cabs remain available in the capital as numbers dwindle post-pandemic.

There are currently just 14,936 black cabs licensed in the capital. In April 2020, just a month into coronavirus lockdowns, the taxi fleet stood 20 percent higher at 18,341.

Low demand for taxis during strict coronavirus social restrictions saw the taxi fleet shrink. Many drivers left the industry completely due to a lack of sufficient financial support from local authorities and Government.

Demand for taxis in the capital has bounced back in 2022, but the number of taxi drivers licensed continues to fall. High vehicle and operating costs are pushing many away and also failing to attract new applicants to the role.

The current cash price of a LEVC TX Vista Comfort sits at £63,805. That price includes a £7,500 Government ‘Plug-in Taxi Grant’ which runs until April 2024. After that date, an extension has not been confirmed, and could push the cash price of a taxi through the £70,000 barrier for the first time in its history.

Taxi manufacturers LEVC announced their Autumn plan to cut their workforce by 140 in a bid to improve efficiency and long-term growth.

The Coventry based black cab manufacturers, famous for its electric TX model, said its voluntary redundancy program will form part of a series of measures to improve “sustainability profitability and growth,” as the company emerges from the coronavirus pandemic and disrupted supply chains.

The company, owned by China’s Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Company, sold 1,620 vehicles and posted pre-tax losses of £118million last year.

London Assembly Member (AM) Caroline Pidgeon asked the Mayor of London (1): “Given the announcement of 140 job losses from the London Electric Vehicle Company's (LEVC) production centre in Coventry, where London's iconic black taxis are built, what actions are you taking to ensure affordable, readily available electric black taxis are available to London's black taxi trade?”

Sadiq Khan said: “I am proud that since Transport for London (TfL) introduced a zero emission capable (ZEC) licensing requirement for new taxis in 2018, and despite challenging economic conditions as a result of the pandemic, 43 percent of London’s taxi fleet is now ZEC.

“TfL and I have supported the taxi industry with delicensing payments totalling more than £30m to encourage the owners of older, more polluting vehicles to remove them from the fleet. TfL also continues to contribute to the £7,500 grant off the purchase price of any new ZEC taxi. In addition, TfL has installed more than 300 rapid charge points, with a significant number of these dedicated to taxi-only use.

“LEVC continues to manufacture its TXe ZEC taxi and has stated that its recent announcement of a planned restructure ‘will provide support for the business as it enters the next crucial phase of its development and a planned return to sustainable profitability and growth’.”

Alex Nan, CEO of LEVC, said earlier this month (2): “LEVC now enters the next exciting stage with our new brand strategy, which will see us become a leading zero carbon mobility technology company.

“Since the launch of the TX in 2018, LEVC has experienced rapid growth, with 9,000 global sales to date, those vehicles travelling more than 500 million miles and preventing 152,000 tonnes of CO2 from being emitted into the atmosphere.

“In London, LEVC’s TX accounts for 82% of the taxi market, and there are now more TX’s on the streets than diesel TX4s. LEVC looks forward to continuing to help the capital to accelerate the transition to a clean, green EV black cab fleet.

“Going forward, our state-of-the-art manufacturing plant at Ansty, Coventry, will continue to be the home of the famous, iconic TX taxi - the London black cab and new generation models. We will build on LEVC’s unrivalled heritage and grow beyond high-end taxi manufacturing, delivering smart, green, safe and accessible mobility to more customers than ever before.

“Watch this space in 2023, as we are targeting a 20% year-on-year sales increase, and more details on LEVC’s strategy will be revealed in Q1.”



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