Centre for Applied Research on Social Sciences and Law

Moving a Taxi Sector to Become Electric: Characterizing Taxi Drivers Interested in Purchasing a Full Electric Vehicle


Electrification of mobility exceeds personal transport to increasingly focus on particular segments such as city logistics and taxis. These commercial mobility segments have different motives to purchase a full electric vehicle and require a particular approach to incentivize and facilitate the transition towards electric mobility. A case where a municipality was successful in stimulating the transition to electric mobility is the taxi sector in the city of Amsterdam. Using results from a survey study (n = 300), this paper analyses the differences in characteristics between taxi drivers that either have or do not have interest in purchasing a full electric taxi vehicle. Results show a low intention across the sample to adopt a full electric vehicle and no statistically significant differences in demographics between the two groups. Differences were found between the level of acceptability of the covenant, the rated attractiveness of the incentives, the ratings of full electric vehicle attributes and the consultation of objective and social information sources. These results can be used by policy makers to develop new incentives that target specific topics currently influencing the interest in a full electric taxi vehicle.

Electric mobility is increasing at a fast pace, leading to increasing penetration rates of electric vehicles (EV) and the development of accompanying charging infrastructure. One of the leading countries in this respect is the Netherlands, where the market share of electric vehicles has grown to 5–10% in 2019 and where extensive infrastructure was built to support the need for public charging. With EV adoption increasing among Dutch households, specific commercial mobility sectors are also targeted to contribute to this transition, with the taxi sector as a prime example. Taxis are compelling in this case, as they operate in inner city districts and contribute to local air quality problems. The municipality of Amsterdam signed a covenant (voluntary agreement) with most Amsterdam based official taxi organizations at the end of 2015 with the aim of creating a full electric taxi fleet before 2025. Through this covenant, the official taxi organizations declared their commitment towards the transition to full electric passenger transport. The municipality facilitates this transition by several policy measures, including (i) purchase subsidies, (ii) placement of (fast) chargers, (iii) a priority incentive at particular taxi stands and (iv) an environmental zone. The policy measures thus include incentives to stimulate the transition and persuade taxi drivers to purchase full electric vehicles (FEVs), but also include facilitation of FEV adopters through charging infrastructure and restrictions for non-adopters with designated environmental zones. The goal of this incentive program is to encourage taxi drivers to switch to FEVs in the upcoming years. The main difference with EV adoption amongst consumers is that, for taxi drivers, the vehicle itself is a prerequisite for all work-related activities while the switch to FEVs will be both stimulated by incentives as well as enforced through regulation.

Insight into the adoption dynamics of taxi drivers is important for policy makers in order to optimize supporting and regulation schemes. In most cases, Dutch taxi fleets are not managed by the overarching taxi organization, who usually function as an administrative unit. Rather, vehicles are bought, operated and maintained by the individual taxi drivers themselves. The Amsterdam based taxi service is thus made up of thousands of individual entrepreneurs, all of whom are expected to switch to EVs in the upcoming years (the only exception is the Amsterdam based Taxi Electric, who operates a full electric taxi fleet and hires employees rather than entrepreneurs to operate vehicles. As the name indicates, Taxi Electric already operates an entire full electric taxi fleet. Since we focus on entrepreneurs and their individual decisions to purchase FEVs, data from Taxi Electric employees are not included in this paper). In this paper, we will discuss the results of a survey conducted in September 2017, centered around the perceptions of Amsterdam-based taxi drivers regarding (1) the covenant between the municipality of Amsterdam and the Amsterdam based taxi organizations, (2) the incentives and measures used by the municipality in line with the covenant, (3) the evaluations of FEV attributes, (4) the consultation of objective and social information sources and (5) the general interest in purchasing an FEV.

This paper is structured as followed: first, a theoretical framework is described to outline the concepts used in the research. Second, sample, procedure, measure and analysis are described in the methodology section. Third, results are presented, focusing on the differences in characteristics between taxi drivers that are currently driving an internal combustion engine vehicle (ICEV). Last, the paper draws conclusions on how differences in perspectives can be characterized and how this may impact policies to stimulate the uptake of electric mobility for taxis and possible also for other commercial sectors

Reference Tamis, M., & van den Hoed, R. (2020). Moving a Taxi Sector to Become Electric: Characterizing Taxi Drivers Interested in Purchasing a Full Electric Vehicle. World Electric Vehicle Journal, 11(1), Article 20. https://doi.org/10.3390/wevj11010020
4 March 2020

Publication date

Mar 2020


Robert van den Hoed


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