Research shows that EVs will make dramatically better Taxis than their petrol counterparts. So, what’s holding up the migration?
The big concern for high mileage taxi drivers is how long will EV batteries last.
Legislation in the USA insists that manufacturers offer 10 year or 100,000-mile guarantees, and this seems to be becoming the norm around the world. Not surprisingly this has set expectations as to how long EVs will last and has discouraged high mileage taxi drivers from moving to EVs.
However, this guarantee is just the minimum life expectancy and research shows that Batteries will last for 250,000 miles plus and with an average working life of 25 years, will outlive the EV cars they power. These batteries will still have 70% of their original capacity and are expected to have “Second Lives” in power storage units connected to the grid to store overnight power or home power walls.
EVs are the perfect vehicles for high milage taxis, because not only do they last longer than their petrol equivalent, but the benefit of their dramatically lower running costs recovers the higher acquisition cost within the first year of purchase, even before a healthy second-hand market is established.
EVs are 32% cheaper to maintain than petrol cars, as they have fewer parts than petrol engines that have over two dozen common automotive components which will eventually fail and need replacing. You also don’t need oil changes and in many EVs, breaking is electronic removing the need to replace brake pads.
However, it is the cost of fuel per mile driven that gives EVs their “No brainer” price advantage for Taxi drivers.
Even before recent hikes in petrol pump prices, which have seen petrol prices heading towards £2.00 per litre, an electric mile at 34p is 72% cheaper than a petrol mile at 1.21. This is a huge saving for high mileage taxi drivers.
Most Uber drivers initially moved to Hybrid Prius as there is a plentiful supply and a healthy cheap second-hand market, but they will soon switch to even cheaper to run pure EV models, once purchase prices come down.
Between now and 2024 only 1 million new EVs will be manufactured and sold, however by 2024/5 50% of new cars manufactured will be EVs and between 2025-30 a massive 10 million EVs will be sold. This tidal wave of change really is just around the corner.
The increase in manufacturing volume will see new EV prices decline to be in line with their petrol equivalents, removing this initial purchase price barrier, however, it will be the development of a sizeable second-hand market for EVs that will create the future fleets of EV taxis.
The shift to EV Taxis will be greatly speeded up in areas that introduce “Ultra-low Emission Zones” (ULEZ) that heavily penalise commercial vehicles using polluting petrol or diesel fuels with charges starting at £10 per day but escalating as high as £60 for larger vehicles. These are being rolled out across the country, after having been successfully deployed in London, with new ones in Birmingham, Newcastle, and Manchester to name a few.
I currently oppose these zones, as the current shortage of EVs is keeping prices 30% above petrol cars making them relatively expensive and out of the reach of many local businesses. These zones impose crude flat taxation that punishes poorer families and businesses, who cannot afford the transition to expensive EVs. However, these zones are inevitable in the longer term and will force a quicker transition of commercial vehicles.
It’s also inevitable that in the next 10 years as the EV migration reaches its conclusion, the local councils who grant operating licences to taxis will insist that 100% are pure non-polluting EVs. At this stage taxis must be brought into all local governments' ground transportation plans, in the same way, busses are, as they will provide the clean last-mile transportation to support the train network which will allow many homeowners to give up second cars.
A future where all long journeys are done by train, with the last miles completed by EV taxi is a must as we try to both reduce carbon emissions and keep our road network flowing whilst population levels continue to increase in the UK.
The future is EV, so out with the Black Cab and in with the Green. It may not be an Uber, but it will be orderable via an App and may even be driverless in the future.
The future is arriving faster than many can imagine, with all taxis being EVs within 10 years.