Grab a green cab – Oslo’s strategy towards a zero emission taxi fleet

Credit: Pauline Kajl/Bellona

One of the contributors to increased emissions, local air pollution and congestion, is the growing number of urban duty and service vehicles. In addition to public authorities, large private companies are a powerful purchaser on the market and therefore key actors in driving the transition to a zero-emission, electric transport system.

This calls for greater focus to be placed on vehicles which are necessary in the everyday running and operations of cities, such as taxies, buses, postal services and delivery- and garbage trucks.

In light of this, Oslo municipality has set itself the ambitious goal of attaining an emissions-free taxi fleet by 2022. To achieve this target, drastic and timely measures must be undertaken. As of today, only vehicles using electricity and hydrogen are referred to as zero emission solutions.

Rolling out the infrastructure

Thanks to rapid developments in battery and EV technology there will be sufficient supplies of e-car models in the Norwegian market in 2022, to meet the requirement for a zero emissions taxi fleet in Oslo.

According to Oslo city council, a gradual roll-out of infrastructure must take place over a period of four years (25% per year) in combination with the most efficient localisation.

The most important factor that affects the extensive use of a zero-emission vehicle, such as a taxi, is the range. It is important for the taxi companies that an electric car does not run out of power or has to stop for long charging times on a trip or during a shift because this could lead to loss of income and dissatisfied passengers.

The taxi industry necessitates that a car must have a range of at least 300 km, accommodate at least four passengers, have a large enough luggage space, and be able to transport passengers with different needs.  Comfort, reliability and a good service device are further core requirements set within the taxi industry.

Charging infrastructure for taxis is often shared with other transport sector operators. Therefore, a charging infrastructure strategy for the taxi industry must be seen in a broader context and included as part of a larger strategy for charging infrastructure in Oslo.

Today, there are four hydrogen filling stations and sixteen fast charging stations reserved for taxis, and more are to come.

Seeing is believing – a special event for Oslo’s taxi drivers

For the fourth year in a row, Bellona jointly with Oslo Taxi hosted a day on green solutions for the taxi fleet. Roughly 300 taxi drivers attended the event in Oslo, where representatives from the car making industry presented their latest zero emission vehicle models and put up information stands, combined with key speakers from Oslo; mayor Marianne Borgen, director of Oslo’s climate agency, Heidi Sørensen and representatives from Norwegian EV Association and Norwegian Hydrogen Forum.

A decisive factor in achieving an emissions-free taxi fleet is that taxi drivers themselves believe that it is possible. Through today’s event Bellona aimed to achieve exactly that and convince taxi drivers to go for the emissions-free option next time they need to consider a change of car. A clear message conveyed by the event was that the taxi industry is part of the public transport solution and that efforts must be made to build infrastructure to enable this shift.

Bellona released in late 2013 a report on barriers and opportunities for the taxi fleet to use electric vehicles. The full report can be found here (in Norwegian).