Starting from the 1st January this year, new emission regulations came into effect in London which means all newly registered taxis in the capital must adhere to certain guidelines.
Newly registered taxis must be capable of doing at least 30 miles emission-free. In addition to this the CO2 emissions of new taxis must be no more than 50g/km. In practical terms this means that new taxi drivers in London will need to have either a plug-in hybrid or an electric vehicle to be able to obtain a licence.
As public hire insurance specialists, we thought we’d look at the pros and cons of owning an electric car since any new black cab drivers in London will have to make the switch.
- Lower running costs – A big benefit of electric vehicles is that they’re cheaper to run. Not only is it cheaper to charge an electric vehicle than it is to refuel a petrol or diesel vehicle but they also require less maintenance. This is obviously a big benefit for cab drivers who spend so much time on the road.
- Better for the environment – A very obvious benefit to owning an electric vehicle is that they’re much better for the environment. Those who are opposed to electric cars will sometimes argue that the electricity used to power electric cars is still generated by oil-burning plants. Even when this is true the amount of oil that’s burned still pales in comparison to the equivalent amount that would be used to fuel a petrol/diesel car.
- Cheaper insurance - London black cab insurance can be expensive and another benefit that owning an electric car brings is that cover is often cheaper. Electric vehicles are simpler to drive and are not as powerful as a lot of petrol/diesel cars so insurance providers consider them lower risk.
- Electric vehicles can be expensive - Electric vehicles can be more expensive than petrol/diesel cars in a similar class. However the price of electric cars is coming down all the time as they increase in popularity and grants are provided to help assist with buying them. For example in London, TfL are providing assistance of up to £5,000 for current taxi drivers who choose to delicence their current vehicle in order to buy a new one.
- Fewer places to refuel - Another thing that could potentially be disruptive for new taxi drivers in London is that their are fewer charge points for electric vehicles than there are petrol stations. This isn’t likely to be too much of an issue in the long term though since TfL are installing 300 new rapid charge points throughout the city which will be completed by 2020.