For the first time, air pollution in the UK is now primarily caused by road vehicles. Legal limits for the year were exceeded in the first four days of the 2017. London schools are being built where the children are forced to suck in four times the approved amount of acid gas.
Because they have old intensively-used diesel engines, London taxis are a significant contributor to deaths now risen to 9500 a year with many more lung injuries from air pollution. Pollution is increasing with cruising Uber cars, delivery trucks for internet shopping and the like. A distant date is set for new taxis to be zero emission but that will only very slowly reduce pollution from the total fleet. Operator Addison Lee has recently pointed out that ubiquitous fast charging stations are essential and more affordable pure electric vehicles that actually perform to specification will help but it sees no significant progress in any of these respects.
A pure electric taxi has just entered production in the UK and China could supply many suitable pure electric taxis as it has over ten thousand already in use. Indeed a few private BYD SUVs that are pure electric already cruise the streets of London.
Purchase of pure electric taxis will be subsidised by the UK government under a new £64m electric taxi incentive scheme. £50 million will be handed out in £7,500 subsidies to anyone buying this TX5 cab. The remaining £14m will be spend on erecting dedicated taxi charging infrastructure across ten UK counties but with £5.2m headed for London. It will be interesting to see if many taxi operators buy the vehicles without the fast charging infrastructure to use them thus making the grant gesture politics rather like the recent installation of a few fuel cell chargers across London. Legal push and plenty of fast chargers are needed.
London is no Oslo. It does not even have 80 Tesla pure electric taxis like those at Schiphol Airport Amsterdam and the prospect of thousands of pure electric buses like those in Chinese cities is distant indeed. Deaths continue. The Mayor of London and the central government protest they are doing all they can. They are not. Faced with public outcry, multiple parliamentary groups are coordinating to investigate. Let us hope they visit Norway, the Netherlands and China and examine the more muscular legislative programs in many other countries - even visit some children dying in hospital and get their opinion.
Top image: Wikipedia