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Taxi industry is being turned upside down

The German Federal Taxi and Hire Car Association (BVTM) has presented a plan to electrify 80 percent of the taxi fleet by 2030. The paper, called Federal Roadmap eTaxi, focuses on promoting, demanding and networking.

A taxi drives about eight times more kilometres than a privately used car. The amount of kilometres travelled is, of course, partly due to the many empty runs that are part of a taxi driver's job. Electrification of taxis and rental cars would therefore make a significant contribution to improving the climate. The taxi industry wants to take up this challenge, but is hoping for active and financial support from the federal government.

The industry is not concerned with questioning electrification, but rather with facilitating the changeover. The federal eTaxi roadmap primarily aims to accelerate the modernisation of rental fleets. But the industry will not have the financial means to manage this conversion on its own. That is why it is demanding a total investment of 390 million euros from the federal government. This is to provide financial support to all those who want to replace or convert their cars. This is the only way to convert about 80 per cent of the taxi fleet by 2030. The association proposes that the financial support be staggered. All those who renew or convert their vehicles in the short term should receive more financial support for the purchase of a new vehicle than those who take a little longer with the fleet renewal.  The later a conversion is made, the less money will flow. This would have a positive effect on the speed with which the fleet is modernised. But according to the association, it is not enough to put money into modernising the fleet if the infrastructure and its expansion is lagging behind. Sufficient money must also be invested in charging columns and other necessary adaptations on the road. The most sensitive point certainly concerns the request to the federal government for an electricity price guarantee until 2030. In view of the recent capers on the electricity market and those still to be expected in the coming years, this does not really seem realistic.

The managing director of the federal association, Michael Oppermann, remains optimistic and expects that as early as 2025 every fourth taxi in Germany will be an electric taxi. This would make Germany a pioneer in Europe. When all taxis are electrified, there will be no need for driving bans for these vehicles. This will certainly be heard with interest in Linz, Austria. There, there is a driving ban that only applies to taxis: engines of diesel taxis must at least comply with Euro class 4, petrol taxis at least with class 3. All taxis need an environmental sticker. This would certainly not be in the spirit of the federal  eTaxi roadmap, which aims to help drivers in difficult times and not exclude them from the inner cities, where the most lucrative trips are to be found.