New London taxis to emit zero emissions from 2018

Image caption Five car firms later showcased their new taxis at City Hall

All new taxis in London should be capable of emitting zero emissions from 2018, the mayor has announced.

The vehicles will operate in zero-emission mode in areas of the capital suffering from the worst air quality, such as central London.

But the Green Party said the mayor had failed in his pledge to create 25,000 electric charging points, which are needed to support electric cabs.

Five car firms later showcased their new taxis at City Hall.

London Mayor Boris Johnson said all new taxis presented for licensing in the capital are to be zero-emission capable from 1 January 2018.

'Chugging diesel engines'

It follows a pledge the mayor made last year to introduce an Ultra Low Emission Zone in central London by 2020.

Transport for London said it was working with the Office of Low Emission Vehicles and was in discussions with the Green Investment Bank to help fund the transition.

Mr Johnson said: "The London taxi is iconic in so many ways - not least in terms of its eye-catching looks and the way it is piloted by wily experts who know the capital like the back of their hand.

"To date its one Achilles' heel, particularly of older models, has been the pollution generated by chugging diesel engines.

"As part of my mission to improve our air quality and drive innovation, I'm making a firm pledge to Londoners that from 2018 all taxis presented for licensing should be zero-emission capable."

Jenny Jones, from the London Assembly Green Party, said: "London also has no rapid charging network which will mean that cabbies will have to slowly recharge their taxis when they run out of juice, which will potentially cost them trade and money.

"The mayor needs to pull his finger out and deliver on his original promise of 25,000 charging points. Otherwise a great opportunity for reducing pollution in London will go to waste and the health of Londoners will suffer as a result."

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