With the government’s pledge to be a net zero economy by 2050, COP26 a matter of weeks away and more cars on the road as we start the economic recovery from over a year of lockdown, the need for London’s taxi and private hire industry to recognise its responsibility to London’s environment has never been clearer. Key to this is the rapid introduction of zero emissions vehicles.
As a business that’s proudly been serving the capital for over 45 years, and which is part of London’s transport network, Addison Lee has a particular responsibility towards the city’s people and its’ environment. So today, we’re announcing that our passenger car fleet will become fully electric by 2023, two years ahead of any other large PHV operator in London, and an investment of £160 million We begin that journey with a partnership with Volkswagen and the roll out of their ID.4s – you may remember the ‘tiny car’ from Euro 2020, although I’m pleased to assure you ours are a little bigger – and the largest UK purchase of electric vehicles (EV) by a private hire provider. – This will eventually mean 20 000 zero emissions journeys each day in London. In fact, our journey towards becoming fully electric has already started – following our purchase of leading black taxi platform ComCab earlier this year, we already have over 650 zero-emission taxis on our fleet.
Our commitment to the long-term environmental health of the capital extends beyond the introduction of electric vehicles into our fleet. To support our shift to EV, we are launching our Future of Mobility fund, which will provide £3.5 million to support drivers with charging infrastructure. In partnership with our customers, the fund will be used to invest in charging infrastructure and our fleet, support drivers with the cost of the Congestion Charge, and pay for projects that improve the environment in London such as our Green Screens initiative, where we install pollution-absorbing plant walls in primary schools.
As well as helping the capital’s environment, we know our new electric fleet and fund will be popular with drivers and business customers. In a recent survey 86% of drivers said they would be keen to shift to an electric vehicle this year and 82% of drivers considered improving the environment as the most significant benefit of shifting to EV. However, we also know that they have some anxieties about the switch. 70% feel that a lack of infrastructure is the biggest challenge when shifting to EV. With only just over 300 rapid chargers in London, the charging infrastructure to support this switch isn’t yet in place. That’s why we have been busy looking for EV charging partners to provide innovative solutions to meet our drivers’ needs, and we hope to be able to share information about those soon.
For our business customers, a commitment to being part of the process for a greener, cleaner London is non-negotiable. In a survey we undertook in May, 92% of them* said environmental credentials are essential when selecting a ground transport provider. Richard Eades, BPs Global Category Manager said of our move: ‘Addison Lee’s ambitious, industry leading action aligns with bp’s Net Zero commitment and continued sustainability values.’
While we need to take a lead, we cannot do it alone and, there’s an urgent need for collective action if London is going to become one of the world’s greenest taxi and PHV markets. A key component will be public/private co-operation between TfL, London boroughs, energy companies, charging providers and businesses like ours to help build out the charging network. We look forward to working together on this most pressing of issues.
London only has a future if it’s sustainable – reducing waste, conserving resources, keeping the air, water, and environment clean for all to enjoy. As a transport business, Addison Lee has a particular role to play in that future – and today’s announcement is a wholehearted acceptance of that.
If you want to become a PHV driver in London, you’ll need to pass a TfL SERU assessment. Here’s what you need to know about SERU, and how Addison Lee can help. …