Major private-hire operator Addison Lee Group is to add 1,200 Volkswagen Sharan people carriers to its fleet.
The London-based global ground transportation business, which operates almost 5,000 vehicles in the UK capital and carries more than 10 million passengers across the city each year, is making the move partly to ensure it meets the new Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) launched by Transport for London (TfL).
The ULEZ, which will come into force on 8th April, requires all vehicles operating in central London to meet emissions standards of Euro 4 for petrol engines and Euro 6 for diesels.
Cars and vans that don’t meet the standards will be required to pay a £12.50 daily charge in addition to any congestion charge fees, with £160 penalties for non-payment, reduced to £80 if paid within 14 days.
From October 2021 the ULEZ will be expanded from central London to include the entire area bounded by the North and South Circular roads.
All 1,200 new VWs being ordered by Addison Lee Group are Sharan SE 2.0 TDI BlueMotion 150 PS DSG models, with electric sliding rear doors.
First deliveries begin in early February and when the order is complete one in five Addison Lee Group cars in the capital will be Volkswagen supplied – the group has previously favoured Ford Galaxy people carriers and made a major order of Fords in 2018.
According to Lisa Burger, Addison Lee Group’s Chief Operating Officer, the VW deal is a first step in an efficiency drive.
“This multi-million pound investment in new Volkswagen Sharan vehicles will make our entire fleet compliant with TfL’s low emission standards and start the process of moving towards a zero-emissions capable fleet,” she said.
According to industry observers a spike in diesel orders by private-hire operators is being driven by forthcoming new regulations coming to the capital.
From 1st January 2020 only zero-emissions capable vehicles will be permitted to be registered for private-hire use, so fleets are investing in diesels now which they will run until electric vehicles become more viable alternatives.