A study has calculated that if all the Hackney carriages in London were powered only by electricity, air pollution in the city would be reduced by around 4,000 tonnes of CO2 every week. The research, conducted by the EcoVelocity, the UK’s only car show solely for eco-friendly motoring, is based on the number of the various types of black cabs registered in London, their CO2 outputs and the average mileage they cover.
As significant as that figure is, it could triple if all London’s private hire taxis (minicabs) went electric too. The figures quoted by the study say that 80% of air pollution in the city centre is due to road traffic, and that black cabs account for 20% of that portion, or about 16% overall. The findings presented by EcoVelocity suggest that air pollution in the capital could be reduced by nearly 50% if all Hackney carriages and minicabs went electric.
The company that makes Hackney carriages, Manganese Bronze, has said it will develop an electric version of its famous black cab but general concerns about the current range capabilities of electric vehicles are limiting the appeal for taxi drivers, many of whom claim to drive up to 150 miles across the city per day.
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, announced in December last year that all new black cabs should be electric by 2020, but sceptics say that it’s not possible. Other measures that have been tabled include refusing licences to drivers of black cabs more than 15 years old, starting next year, and twice-yearly MOT tests for the remainder to make sure their emissions stay below the required levels.