On 26 March 2015 the government announced a new initiative to support taxi owners to convert to lower emission vehicles. The initiative is £45 million to support the rollout of greener taxis. A £20 million fund will be made available to local authorities to support the rollout of ultra-low emission taxis across the UK. The money will be available to reduce the upfront cost of purpose built taxis and to install charging infrastructure for taxi and private hire use.
A further £25 million has been set aside specifically for the Greater London Area to help taxi drivers cover the cost of upgrading to a greener vehicle.
All taxis will also qualify for the government’s plug-in car grant, which currently offers up to £5,000 off the cost of an eligible low emission vehicle.
From 26 March local authorities are invited to bid for feasibility studies to prepare for the rollout of these vehicles in their fleets. The news follows Geely’s recent announcement outlining plans for a new £250 million state of the art facility to produce the next generation of low-emission London Black Taxis. Geely, who owns the iconic London Taxi Company, was awarded £17 million from the government’s Regional Growth Fund to build this facility, which will create 1,000 local jobs and ensure the London black taxi continues to be designed, developed and made in the UK.
These new taxis will comply with the new regulations being introduced by the Mayor of London that will require all London taxis to be zero-emission capable from January 2018.
Business Minister Matthew Hancock said:
This is a historic moment for the automotive sector and goes to show that it is thriving in Britain today. Low emission vehicles are the future and show that we can meet our climate change obligations in a way that enhances technology. I’m looking forward to the roll-out of greener taxis across the UK and have no doubt that with the support of Geely this will happen very quickly.
Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said:
As London strives towards the greenest taxi fleet from 2018, it is essential to support the taxi trade in the transition to cleaner vehicles. With the additional funds announced today, more help is on the way for taxi drivers to upgrade to the latest technology in zero-emission capable cabs. Alongside the world’s first Ultra Low Emission Zone from 2020 these measures will boost jobs and growth in the development and manufacturing of ultra low emission technologies, secure the long-term future of the taxi industry, and ensure everyone who lives, works in, or visits our city has the cleanest possible air to breathe.