Black cab drivers in London are calling for more support from government to help them make the transition to an all-electric fleet, and have teamed up with InstaVolt, the UK’s leading rapid charging network to show how this could be done.

Currently, just under 60% of London’s almost 15,000 strong black cab fleet is made up of zero emission capable, electric taxis. The Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association, which represents the majority of black cab drivers in London, says reducing VAT on public charging to 5% and improving access to rapid chargers through superhubs, like InstaVolt’s, could help accelerate the move to every cab being an EV.

InstaVolt, the UK’s leading rapid charging network, has just launched its largest ultra rapid EV charging superhub in the capital at historic Syon Park in Brentford. Although it’s built with all EV drivers in mind, InstaVolt say the new 14 charger superhub addresses the lack of rapid chargers in the capital.

To support black cabs drivers’ campaign to have VAT reduced to 5% at public charging points in line with home chargers, InstaVolt is also removing 15% of the cost at its chargers in the capital for a month, as a sign of solidarity.

Situated just 3 miles from the M4, and close to Heathrow Airport, Syon Park – famous for its appearances in top rated TV dramas like Bridgerton – is along a main commuter artery, the A316 which runs from the capital to the M3. TW8 8JF

Simon Smith, InstaVolt’s Chief Commercial Officer, said: “Black cabs are part of the capital’s fabric and we’re thrilled to be supporting them with our expanding network across London and fantastic new super hub at iconic Syon Park.

“Cabbies are busy people for whom quite literally time is money and they need ready access to reliable charging solutions so they can get back on the road as quickly as possible, making InstaVolt the perfect partner. At Syon Park and across our network, cabbies can benefit from our industry leading 99%+ reliability as well as accessing a whole host of amenities. While their cabs are charging, they can meet up with their fellow drivers, enjoy a cuppa and be back on the road in minutes.

“We are also delighted to be supporting the black cab drivers in their fight for lower prices for on-street public charging by self-removing 15% of our charging cost, effectively leaving a 5% element inline with the VAT for home charging.”

The taxi trade has had to embrace electric vehicles in recent years amid a push from Transport for London (TfL) to reduce toxic air and emissions in the capital. Since 2018, all taxis licensed for the first time have had to be zero emission capable, as part of the London Mayor’s ambition for a net zero-carbon city by 2030. But there are calls for the government and TfL to step in to do more to support drivers and reduce VAT on charging points, to make these plans achievable.

Steve McNamara, General Secretary of the LTDA, said: “Rapid charging superhubs like this fantastic facility are key to expanding the charging network in London and ensuring drivers can always find a place to charge their cab and benefit from amenities while they wait.”

“Well over half of London’s black cabs are now electric but the shortage of rapid public charging points and rising cost of charging remain barriers to wider uptake of electric taxis. Reducing the VAT on public charging, bringing it into line with home chargers, would help level the playing field for those drivers unable to charge at home as well as supporting drivers with mounting operating costs. We hugely appreciate InstaVolt’s gesture of removing the VAT equivalent themselves to demonstrate the positive impact such a reduction would have.”

Transport campaigner and original Top Gear presenter Quentin Willson, is the founder of FairCharge, which argues VAT needs to be cut on public EV charging. Quentin said: “FairCharge has campaigned for three years repeatedly asking the Treasury to cut the VAT on public EV charging, and help reduce costs for those electric car drivers who can’t charge at home. Affordability is one of the key levers to mass EV adoption. I’m really encouraged to see InstaVolt symbolically reduce their prices, to reflect the difference a VAT cut would make, and for the LTDA and all their EV cab drivers to join the campaign. Hopefully this will help HMT appreciate that reducing the tax on electricity for public EV charging is an important lever for increasing EV adoption.”

Supporting the cause is Edmund King OBE, AA president. He said: “In our recently publicised Motoring Manifesto we call for levelling up when it comes to EV charging. It is unfair that black cab drivers, and others without access to off-street parking, should pay four times as much VAT on charging as those fortunate enough to be able to charge at home. We are pleased that InstaVolt are supporting the campaign for change.”

Voted as one of Britain’s top rapid charging networks**, InstaVolt’s chargers are powered using 100% renewable energy, easy to use and take contactless payment so there’s no need to sign up and no subscription required.

Drivers can visit the website, or sign up to the optional InstaVolt App, where they can find their nearest charging station, search for real-time availability across its sites, and pay for their charge – all in one place.

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