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New London black cabs must be 'zero emission capable' from 2018 says TfL

Tue 27 October 2015 | Back to news list

From 1 January 2018, all taxis licensed for the first time in London must be (ZEC) zero emission capable (less than 50g/km tailpipe CO2 and 30 miles ZE range) according to plans outlined by Transport for London.  Additionally, any ZEC taxi can only use petrol for its hybrid engine.  For private hire vehicles the intention is that all vehicles granted a PHV licence for the first time after 1 January 2023 must be zero emission capable, regardless of age.

The new rules will only apply to taxis being licensed for the first time but cabbies renewing their licences will be allowed to keep diesel models, such as the present industry standard TX4, until they are decommissioned.

The announcement is part of TfL’s plan to clean up London’s air with an ultra-low emission zone (ULEZ) in central London, to be introduced in 2020.

Mayor Boris Johnson said on Monday: “The taxi and minicab trades have a crucial role to play in helping to improve London’s air quality. This is why we have made them a central part of our ultra-low emission zone plans. We understand this will take time and that is why we are giving financial assistance to help clean up these vehicle fleets.

"The ultra-low emission zone is the most ambitious measure of its kind in the world and we need everyone on board for it to be a success.”

Private hire cars licensed for the first time in 2018 must be hybrids or have Euro 6 standard engines, but not until 2020 must all new private hire cabs be capable of running solely on battery power.

Meanwhile older private hire cars must be capable of running without emissions by 2023, regardless of how old they are.

Although existing diesel taxis could, in theory, remain on the streets until 2032, TfL is providing £65 million to help drivers buy new greener cabs five years before their old ones are out of date.

They have set a target of putting 9,000 zero emissions capable taxis on the capital’s streets by 2020.

The ULEZ is designed to significantly improve air quality in London. There are two other parts to the scheme, in addition to the taxi requirements outlined above:

  • a requirement for all vehicles driving in central London from September 2020 to meet new exhaust emissions standards (ULEZ standards). Those not meeting these standards would be able to drive in the zone, but would need to pay a daily non-compliance charge to do so. 
  • investment in the TfL bus fleet so that all double-deck buses operating in central London will be hybrid and all single-deck buses will be zero emission (at tailpipe) by September 2020.

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