There are around 3,100 taxis in Munich. But so far, according to Thomas Kroker, chairman of the taxi cooperative, only around 50 of them are purely electric – that’s one-sixty-second of the entire fleet.
The city of Munich wants to change that. It had already introduced a funding program for electrically powered taxis in 2017. Since January 1st of this year there has been a new program that is supposed to be more attractive and has the goal of putting up to 400 e-taxis on the road by the end of 2025. The city is donating two million euros in funding this year and next year.
On Saturday, representatives from the taxi industry met at the ADAC office in Westend for “E-Taxi Day” to find out about the new funding. The meeting was organized by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (IHK) for Munich and Upper Bavaria and the regional association of Bavarian taxi and rental car companies in collaboration with the ADAC Südbayern, the Department for Climate and Environmental Protection (RKU) and the Munich Taxi Association. They pursue the common goal of convincing the industry of locally emission-free taxis.
Because the numbers show that skepticism is still high. That could change with the new program. It is intended to provide a strong incentive for the taxi industry to quickly convert to battery-electric vehicles. While the previous funding was based on mileage (20 cents for each kilometer occupied by passengers), the purchase of an e-taxis is now being supported.
There is up to 10,000 euros in city funding. If a car costs less than 30,000 euros, a maximum of a third of the net acquisition costs will be paid out. This is subject to conditions: the maintenance period is at least three years, and the vehicle must be verifiably covered by 30,000 occupied kilometers per year, as it is called in the industry. The travel data is transmitted to the city using a so-called fiscal taximeter.
To do this, all subsidized e-taxis must be marked as such on the sides. The ADAC wants to take care of the stickering and the taxi drivers should not incur any additional costs.
For the first 100 vehicles, owners can also receive a “climate speed bonus” of ten percent of the funding amount (maximum 1,000 euros) if they order the vehicles within two months of submitting the application. By supporting acquisition costs, the RKU is responding to the wishes of the taxi industry.
The second mayor Dominik Krause (Greens) explained that the taxis are a part or a supplement to local public transport. There are already around 600 e-taxis in Hamburg. But while from 2025 onwards only pure e-taxis or hydrogen-powered vehicles will receive a concession, in Munich they are taking a different approach, namely that of funding.
There seems to be a lot of demand for this. According to information from the RKU, there were already 36 applications for 85 vehicles on the waiting list before the program started.
One of the e-taxi pioneers is Gregor Beiner, managing director of the Munich Taxi Center. He began electrifying his fleet five years ago, and 16 of 70 vehicles are currently electric. All of its vehicles should be emission-free by 2029. The vehicles travel around 200 to 250 kilometers per shift and are then charged at the headquarters while they are being cleaned at the shift change. The taxi center’s first electric cars already have 300,000 kilometers on the clock, and according to Beiner, they should be able to do up to 400,000. His car covers 70,000 to 100,000 kilometers every year. Beiner’s tip to his colleagues: “Don’t be afraid.”
E-taxis not only have the advantage that they run with zero local emissions. They also require less maintenance, which saves business owners money. According to Beiner, the brakes of a conventional combustion engine have to be replaced approximately every 30,000 to 50,000 kilometers. “Never with electric vehicles,” he says. The electric vehicles do not need any engine oil or anything else that comes with combustion engines. But it can also happen to e-taxis that the twelve-volt starter battery gives up the ghost, like in a conventional combustion engine. Alexander Kreipl, head of traffic, technology and environment at ADAC Südbayern, assures that the car club can also help in these cases.
There is still a problem with the charging infrastructure. According to Thomas Kroker, there is still some catching up to do here. There are only three of the 277 taxi ranks in the city that currently have charging points. Taxi drivers are aware that not everyone can be equipped with this. But they would like to see additional charging points in critical areas of the city.
What will happen next with the charging infrastructure is currently still unclear. 2,700 more charging points are to be built in Munich; the city council made this decision in 2018. However, a tender by the former Department of Health and Environment failed due to legal hurdles. The mobility department is now responsible for the award, and according to them, a call for tenders is no longer necessary. However, it won’t be easy with more public charging stations. Space in the city is limited, which is why more charging points should also be built on private property. The mobility department is still working on a concept of how this should work.