Study to assess charging needs for electric taxis

Energy network operator UK Power Networks has launched a study of electric vehicle use by London cabbies in order to forecast where investment is needed in the capital’s vehicle charging infrastructure.

The project, which has been labelled ‘Black Cab Green’, will look at the locations and times where charging of zero-emission enabled black cabs takes place, and will shape future investment in the electricity network in the capital.

A plug-in taxi charging at one of London’s first rapid charging points

This will support an anticipated growth in the use of electric cabs in the city, according to UK Power Networks.

Transport for London (TfL) has introduced new licence requirements that all new black cabs will need to be zero-emission capable from 2018 and the same for all new minicabs from 2023. The requirement supports the Mayor of London’s Transport Strategy ambition that all taxis, private hire vehicles and public sector car fleets will be zero emission capable by 2033.

Black Cab Green will use real-life data from the London Electric Vehicle Company’s (LEVC) test fleet to model how all the new charging points needed could impact the electricity network.

LEVC’s fleet of range-extended taxis have been on London’s roads since October – and are being used to test London’s existing charging infrastructure as well as track the behaviour of drivers to better understand where future chargers need to be.

Charging

Ian Cameron, head of innovation at UK Power Networks, said: “This project is an important step in allowing us to understand exactly what we need to do to facilitate more zero-emission vehicles to charge quickly and easily. By getting a really accurate picture of exactly how and where this sector of EV charging will interact with the network, we’ll be able to make informed decisions on how to support low carbon technologies.

“We want to deliver the best possible service to our customers at the lowest cost. That is going to mean taking innovative approaches to how people interact with our network. One key area we are looking at is smart charging, which could encourage vehicles to charge more quickly when demand on the rest of the network is lower.

“We fully support London’s ambition to be one of the leading cities in the world for zero-emission vehicle technology, and predict the findings from this project will help inform the entire industry.”

Electrification

The project will also develop a long-term strategy to work with the capital’s taxi drivers and the wider industry, as the electrification of taxis increases.

Richard Turnbull, head of infrastructure at LEVC, said: “London’s cab drivers face poor air quality every day and 80% of those surveyed are interested in moving to an electric vehicle. Their vehicles face some of the capitals most demanding usage cycles – and some electric taxi drivers may need to rapid chargers daily. As such, getting the right infrastructure in the right place at the lowest cost will be essential to supporting their move away from diesel vehicles, which is why we are supporting this project.

“We expect the outputs of this project to be invaluable and enable UK Power Networks to ensure there is sufficient power being delivered to the right places. At the same time allowing the policy makers, such as Transport for London (TfL) and commercial partners to deliver the charging infrastructure quickly and in the right places to support the trades transition to zero emission technology.”

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