Cabbies and InstaVolt call for electric charging support

Black cab drivers in London are calling for more government support to assist in the transition to an all-electric fleet, partnering with rapid charging firm InstaVolt to reveal how to achieve it.

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.

To support black cabs drivers’ campaign to reduce VAT, InstaVolt is also removing 15% of the cost at its chargers in the capital for a month, as a sign of solidarity. It follows InstaVolt launching its largest ultra rapid EV charging superhub in the capital at historic Syon Park in Brentford.

Simon Smith, InstaVolt’s Chief Commercial Officer, said:

“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.

“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.”

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.

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.

He 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.”

Edmund King OBE, AA president, also supported the cause:

“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.”

Photo credit: David Parry/PA Media Assignments.

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