For Private Hire Vehicle Drivers, the need for change is inevitable; this will come as no surprise when you consider the escalation of reporting on climate change.
With recent protests, new statistics and research dominating the news, the implications are at the forefront of the conversation that is happening, daily.
The need for change is obvious and incredibly important, but we must be sensible and consider how reasonable these implementations are on everyday people, what the impact will be on people’s livelihoods and realistically, how feasibly timed these stipulations are being enforced.
So, what does this campaign mean?
Well, it means that from 1st January 2020, any PHV to be licensed by TFL for the first time, and is less than 18 months old, will have to be ZEC compliant. ZEC guidelines are defined as having a zero-emission range of minimum 20 miles and should produce less than 75g/km CO2. This new legislation is being sanctioned in phases, with the first deadline scheduled for 31st December 2019.
So how is this really going to affect the Private Hire trade?
Well, a large portion of vehicles that are used as PHV’s in London, particularly 7 and 9-seater MPV’s, simply will not exist within this new format. This leads us to believe the new regulations are ‘too much, too soon’ as vehicle manufacturers simply haven’t caught up. Mercedes recently unveiled their EQV which is the ZEC compliant version of the ever-popular chauffeur vehicle, the V Class. However, there is no clear release date, and these vehicles may not reach Europe till Q3 of 2020, and not land in the UK at all!
In an even stranger paradox, the most popular (and one of the greenest) PHV’s in London, the Toyota Prius will no longer meet the standards expected as it does not meet the ZEC test. Although Toyota are launching a PHEV version ready to ship in September 2019 which will carry 4 passengers, will this really be more environmentally friendly? Research has shown that the PHEV model will be heavier than the current petrol hybrid Prius. So, in order to benefit, and achieve the impressive MPG figures advertised it must be charged regularly.
The issue this causes is that the vast majority of PHV drivers not only work in London, but also live in London. Living in properties with no off-street parking, or in high rise buildings, the majority of PHV drivers will struggle to charge their vehicles. This will result in drivers and fleets being forced to buy ZEC vehicles, which will essentially not be recharged, and driven as petrol vehicles anyway! When the added weight of the vehicles is factored in, it will result in less efficiency and more harmful to the environment!
We all love this great capital city and the entire PHV industry is behind the premise of the Government’s Clean Air Strategy 2019 and wants to do whatever it can to help reduce emissions overall. Alas, the current implementation by the Mayor of London seems fundamentally flawed.