A new parliament led research briefing outlines the support available to taxi drivers looking to shift to electric taxis.
The Frequently Asked Questions research briefing was produced for the House of Commons Library and covers hot topics from bus, taxi and private hire vehicle (PHV) sectors.
In the taxi section of the report it looks at a number of key issues facing the industry, including regulation of taxis and PHVs, limits on taxi numbers, ‘cross-border’ taxis, minibuses and complaints.
What Government support is available to cabbies for the shift to ‘Greener taxis’?
In June 2022, it was announced that the Government would be closing its plug-in grant scheme for cars, to refocus funding towards electric charge- points, and to boosting the sale of other vehicles, including plug-in taxis.
The Plug-in Taxi Grant (PiTG) applies a discount to new taxis depending on its range, emissions, and design. All taxi drivers and businesses buying or leasing a new purpose-built taxi can benefit if the vehicle is eligible, although they do not need to apply for this directly as manufacturers should apply it to their taxi models that are approved for the grant. The PiTG is split into two categories:
Category 1 PiTG (up to £7,500) – zero emissions range of 70 miles or more and emissions less than 50gCO2/km
Category 2 PiTG (up to £3,000) – zero emissions range of 10-69 miles and emissions less than 50gCO2/km.
On 1 January 2018 TfL introduced new licensing requirements to help increase the number of zero emissions taxis operating in London. Since this date, taxis presented for licensing for the first time have needed to be zero emissions capable (ZEC), which means having CO2 emissions of no more than 50g/km and a minimum 30-mile zero emission range. In addition, licences are no longer issued to diesel taxis and ZEC taxis with petrol engines much meet the latest emissions standard (Euro 6).
A number of local and combined authorities have also put in place or plan to put in place conditions for zero emissions taxis into licencing requirements. For example, new licences in Greater Manchester Combined Authority from 2025 will only be granted to ZEC taxis and Birmingham City Council will require all new vehicles to be ultra-low emission vehicle compliant with at least a 70-mile no emissions range.
Research conducted by the Connected Places Catapult and Urban Transport Group revealed that local authorities face challenges in introducing mandatory cut-offs after which only zero emissions vehicles will be licensed. These challenges include the comparatively high price point of zero emissions vehicles, a lack of availability of wheelchair accessible zero emissions vehicles, and the problem of ‘cross-border’ taxis – i.e. if one authority introduces a zero-emission vehicle requirement, drivers could simply choose to be licenced in a neighbouring authority.
A number of cities have brought in clean air zones or low/ultra-low emissions zones, and each has different rules on charges applied to taxis. For the currently operating clean air zones in Bath, Birmingham, Bradford, Bristol and Portsmouth, taxis that are Euro standard 1-5 for diesel and 1-3 for petrol are required to pay a daily charge. For London’s ultra-low emissions zone (ULEZ), taxis are exempt from paying the daily charge, although older, more polluting taxis are subject to a 12-year age limit.
Taxis and PHVs will also be affected by the Government’s decision to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars in the UK by 2030 and all new non-zero emissions cars and vans from 2035. DfT provided further guidance on the transition to zero emissions cars and vans with its delivery plan in July 2021.