Electric Taxis in London?
London's iconic black cabs are finally updated! With electric drive trains!
Geely, parent company to the Londone Electric Vehicle Company, has introduced an electric version of the black cab, expecting to have 9,000 on the road by 2021. They come with many improvements, including aluminum body panels, a quieter ride, and creature comforts befitting a car designed in the 21st century.
There is an interesting problem, however, and that is in the EV infrastructure. As we all know, electric cars require charging stations, and taxis present an interesting use case, in that they require charging throughout the day in order to keep a cabbie working, whereas most EVs are used as a commuter car and can be charged overnight or while at work. As it currently stands, London doesn't have the infrastructure to support the cabs proposed, and that's a problem.
For one thing, you'll have disillusioned cab drivers, who just forked over substantially more than they would have for a diesel cab, and now can't take as many fares as they used to because they're searching or waiting for a charging station. That would offset any monetary gains they might see due to lower fuel costs. Additionally, riders will be upset over lack of availability, especially in areas where there aren't charging stations. Add to that the idea that cabbies are less likely to take long fares into unknown territory, since charging might not be available there, and you have ridership dissatisfaction. (I realize these cabs will likely be outfitted with an app to find nearby charging stations, but my point stands.)
Overall, I think it might be too soon for something like this, even though I agree with the premise. I'd be curious to hear experiences firsthand from Londoners.