SemaConnect Blog

November 21, 2014

London’s Iconic Black Cabs to Receive an “EV Make-Over” by 2018

Image CC by Calgary Reviews

Passengers in London’s famous black cabs could be treated to a quieter, more emissions-free travel experience over the next three years. Earlier this year, London Mayor Boris Johnson announced that any new Taxis introduced to the city in 2018 will have to be capable of emissions-free driving. The announcement comes on the heels of the mayor’s pledge last year to institute an “ultra-low emissions zone” in Central London by 2020.

London’s new plan to require emissions-free Taxis is a sign that cities are making the shift to the green economy. It is becoming increasingly evident that avoiding vehicle emissions is not just important for tackling climate change, there are also health impacts associated with spewing pollution into the air.

For instance, London has a serious air quality problem over the central city – so severe that it even surpasses Beijing’s air pollution (which has previously been referred to as the “airpocalypse”). Not only do vehicle emissions contribute to an enhanced greenhouse effect, they can negatively impact human health over periods of prolonged exposure. Traffic pollution has been linked to asthma, respiratory tract infections, and respiratory and pulmonary morbidity.
While tackling air pollution would certainly be a tall order for a city as massive as London, Nissan has stepped up to the plate to make the city’s vision of emissions-free taxis a reality. The automaker is hard at work on the electric version of its new Nissan NV200 model. It will be basing its design off of London’s black cab – one notable difference, of course, will be the lack of a tailpipe. Nissan’s new “e-Taxi” will be available in 2015.
The EV market is now in full swing, with numerous cities embracing clean technology in all aspects of transportation. Technology such as the Busbaar v3 is making EV public transit a reality while the improvement of EV infrastructure is making it easier for EV drivers to charge their cars. It is no surprise that EVs are growing at a rate of 33% per year, and numbers could hit 7.5 million by 2020. London’s move to implement emissions-free taxis is just one aspect of a wider movement towards the green economy.
What are your thoughts on London’s forthcoming fleet of e-Taxis? Do you think other cities will follow suit?

Joseph Tohill is a freelance writer and online communications specialist for organizations in the sustainability sector. He has a B.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of British Columbia and spent most of his academic career studying sustainable urban development; namely the interdisciplinary relationship between built form and natural environment.

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