Again the good name of London's licensed Taxi trade, voted the best Taxi service in the world for many years running, has come under attack from a substandard news paper and a minicab firm with stick on fruit used as an unauthorised livery.
Is this VHS and Betamax all over against?
The news item, also carried online by the Transport Research Laboratory stated
"The launch of an electric taxi fleet in the British capital has been delayed after it emerged that the existing charging network is not compatible with the vehicles."
We would also point out that the vehicles in question are not now or ever will be TAXIS, they are minicabs.
As the Substandard reports, "Green Tomato Cars had been planning to have its electric taxis on the roads by June 21st, but now they will not be operating until late summer at the earliest."
For Green Tomato Cars to have a fleet of electric Taxis, first they will have to buy a fleet of vehicles that conform to the conditions of fitness laid down under the Hackney carriage and London Cab Acts. These vehicles would of course have to be wheelchair compatible, have a turning circle less than 25 feet and could only then be used in service by licensed Taxi drivers.
Good luck with that Hamish! Or did you really mean electric minicabs?
"While London currently has some 1,300 charging points, only one is compatible with the Chinese-built cars, and the minicab firm is now calling for the introduction of more rapid charge stations."
At this point we would ask, how much is this minicab firm's owners and backers going to invest in these new charging stations, or are they expecting us as rate payers to pick up the bill for their private, commercial venture?
Hamish Phillips, a Green Tomato Spokesman, said: "The infrastructure is not in place to run an operation like ours.
"Our cars are in use 12 hours a day travelling between 120 and 150 miles. We can’t have them standing idle."
"Green Tomato already has a 300-strong fleet of hybrid vehicles on the roads, but has not set a definitive date by which it expects to have its 50 electric taxis in service."
So by the last statement we would assume the fleets drivers have signed up to do "The Knowledge". As this takes on average 44 months this will give them plenty of time to save up for proper LTPH approved Taxis.
Lets not forget, in a previous article on Taxi Leaks, we were informed that in China and Japan, customers are avoiding electric Taxis like the plague. To save battery usage drivers refuse to put the radio on, disable the heater (giving passengers a blanket) and dangerously drive on side lights really using wipers. Many Taxi drivers in Tokyo refuse to drive electric cabs as their taking fall.
Just imaging the scenario:
Car picks up from the Royal Albert Hall at 11pm. It's raining and freezing cold. Passenger wants to go to Heathrow hotel.
Driver gives passenger a blanket opens drivers window and using a squeegee on a stick, clears the screen. As the minicab approaches Heston services, the driver announces, "Just got to top up the power mate, be about an hour if you want to grab a cuppa."
Below, the Chinese electric BYD, not compatible with current charging stations.