Addison Lee has rowed back on its pledge to have an all-electric fleet by 2025, and instead has announced a major order for plug-in hybrid Volkswagen Multivan people carriers.
The company cites a lack of availability of suitable EV models, particularly 7-seaters, and ongoing problems with charging infrastructure. The company has set a new goal of a zero-emissions capable fleet by April 2024, and is calling on London Mayor Sadiq Khan to abandon plans to abolish the congestion charge exemption for EVs from 2025.
The £30 million order for 600 VW Multivans will see the last of the Addison Lee diesel Ford Galaxy and VW Sharan vehicles leave the fleet in the spring. The move follows the acquisition of 400 Audi A6 plug-in hybrids to replace diesel Mercedes-Benz E-Classes on Addison Lee’s premium fleet.
Addison Lee has also built a fleet of 1,000 Volkswagen ID.4 electric cars as the mainstay of its London private hire fleet.
Addison Lee CEO Liam Griffin said: “As the first private hire operator in London to introduce electric vehicles at scale, we remain committed to operating a zero emissions fleet. However, our experience has since shown us that we need to be pragmatic about how we achieve this.”
He continued: “Right now, there is neither the availability of vehicles nor robust enough charging infrastructure in London to go fully electric at speed and scale. That’s why we’re investing today in a broader range of sustainable options to meet current demand from passengers – while remaining committed to our long-term goal of full electrification.”
“It’s critical that we have both the right infrastructure and regulation in place to allow us to achieve this. That’s why we’re asking the Mayor of London to reconsider his plans to abolish the congestion charge exemption for electric vehicles. Removing this vital incentive will make it more costly to operate electric vehicles in the capital and jeopardise his net zero 2030 ambition for the city.”
As well as buying 1,000 fully electric ID.4s, Addison Lee has invested significantly in sustainable vehicles as well as in London’s infrastructure to ensure drivers have access to reliable charging options.
Earlier this year Addison Lee acquired rival Green Tomato Cars, strengthened its position as the capital’s largest private hire, taxi and same day courier business, while also bringing a wide range of full electric, hybrid and plug-in hybrids on to the fleet. Including taxi operator Comcab, acquired in 2021, and its extensive courier van fleet, Addison Lee currently operates 7,500 vehicles in London.
Meanwhile Addison Lee has built strategic partnerships with BP Pulse, ChargePoint and Bonnet, as well as an investment of £150,000 to install ultra-rapid charging points at its West Drayton fleet hub.