We have taken delivery of a newly converted LPG cab this week and drivers can come and have a look and even take it for a spin if you book an appointment in advance.
The LTDA recently had another LPG cab to test out for a week and we all found it a solid cab to work in.
For most people, I’m sure the decision will come down to value for money and the ease of being able to fill up, and as our options are virtually non-existent currently, this at least opens up another possibility other than the TXe.
The change of heart by Mayor Sadiq Khan and Transport for London in supporting the technology has also been a major boost to LPG.
TfL recently announced that the £2.5 million grant funding for repowering TX4 Euro 5 taxis to autogas announced in the run up to Christmas has been doubled to £5 million.
In a further move of support for the fuel, TfL has proposed that the repowered cabs will continue to be licensed for 15 years, alongside the latest Euro 6 and electric models.
It is now widely accepted that LPG – a cooking fuel - helps reduce particulate matter by 99% and cut NOx by 80%. It is agreed it means cabs would meet Euro 6 vehicle standards and be Ultra Low Emission Zone compliant.
There are currently two places offering LPG refit options. The Richmond Road Cab Centre which works with the international company Gastech, a specialist engine development company, providing London cabbies with the option to convert their polluting diesel taxis to run on LPG.
Gastech introduced Euro 6 LPG emission compliant technology to the UK’s London TX2 taxi market in 2017.
There is also Gascab and its backer Vehicle Repowering Solutions Ltd, which have been approved to repower both TX2 and TX4 models by TfL.
I’m told that there has been a growth in interest and there are limited spaces available for the conversion work in the next month or so. Also, it you want to benefit from the full 15+5-year benefit that switching to LPG currently provides it might be an idea to book now, before the age limit consultation period.
Conversion costs around £12,000 and as things stand will get your cab an extra five years on the current 15 – 20 years in total. TfL has confirmed that this will be honoured even if the mayor’s ridiculous 12-year taxi life proposals get approved following the upcoming consultation. If you want to take advantage of this, you need to act fast.
I know that there is much uncertainty around – and understandable mistrust of our regulator - and many people are unsure which way to jump. But by my calculations, even under the worst-case scenario of a 12- year lifespan, LPG will run for 15 years and will be cost effective.
A solid refuelling infrastructure is now in place. There are 150,000 vehicles running on autogas in the UK, with more than 65 LPG refuelling stations inside the M25 area.
As such, LPG autogas could present an additional option to ZEC, which is very young, has higher upfront costs and may not meet the needs of some drivers due to driving range and a lack of infrastructure.
Anyway, whether LPG is the right way for you, only you can decide, but it’s worth your consideration and if you are interested in finding out more get in touch and book a visit to Woodfield Road.
LPG conversion grants are available to drivers of eligible Euro 5 taxis. To express an interest in applying for an LPG conversion grant, please email TaxiDelicensing@tfl.gov.uk. This will enable TfL to contact you about your application. Expression of interest does not constitute an application.