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What is stopping new black cab taxi manufacturers entering the market?

There’s no denying the taxi industry is facing a significant challenge finding more affordable and diverse options for black cab vehicles. But what is stopping new entrants coming onto the market?

Potential black cab manufacturers are being hindered by two main factors, namely the high unit prices of suitable vans and the costly conversion process.

Presently, only three vans meet the required vehicle length criteria for a London taxi: the Mercedes E Vito van, a Stellantis van (also known as Vauxhall, Citroen, Peugeot, Toyota vans), and a Maxus van. The base model of the electric Maxus van begins at £40,000, while the E Vito starts at an eye-watering £65,000. In addition to these prices, the conversion cost for the Dynamo taxi sat at approximately £23,000 all in for features such as the turning circle, wheelchair accessibility, partition and roof light. If the Maxus van were to be converted and approved as a London taxi, its price would likely reach around £63,000, while the Vito would soar to a staggering £85,000.

Some industry voices argue that reducing the barriers to entry for new manufacturers could help. Knocking off some of the conversion costs around the increased tighter turning circle would reduce the price, but in turn it would also remove a unique selling point offered to customers.

Given these figures, one must question whether the current electric taxi option, the LEVC TX, is actually an expensive option in today's market. The stark reality is that the electric vehicle market is far from cheap for all, with prices rising due to inflation and substantial finance interest costs.

The taxi industry will no doubt continue to voice the need for more affordable alternatives, but in all honesty there is very little in the way of options on the horizon under the current conditions of fitness.


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