Nottingham offers taxi drivers the opportunity to trial electric vehicles
There are now more electric taxis in Nottingham than anywhere outside of London and the council has an ambitious target for 40 per cent of the cab fleet to be ULEV by 2020.
Nottingham Council House
Hackney cab drivers will soon be able to trial new electric vehicles as part of Nottingham City Council’s ambitions to offer the cleanest fleet in the country.
There are already six electric taxis offering rides in the city and now an additional three have been bought by the council.
Drivers will be able to hire the cabs, built by the London Electric Vehicle Company (LEVC), in a ‘try before you buy’ scheme, after a survey of the city’s 411 cab drivers showed 90 per cent of respondents were in favour of test drive opportunities.
Nottingham will be the second city in the UK to offer this opportunity after Coventry launched similar trials last month. For passengers, electric taxis offer laptop and phone charging, free Wi-Fi and the option to pay by card.
Councillor Sally Longford, Portfolio Holder for Energy and Environment, said: “We have ambitions to have the cleanest, greenest fleet in the country. For some visitors, their taxi service is among their first impressions of Nottingham and we want to provide a modern, zero emission welcome to our city.
“We want to improve the customer offer, not just around comfort and safety, but around the environmental impact of taxi emissions and ensure taxis are part of the city’s world-class transport network.
“To achieve this we need to support our drivers to be able to meet our emissions policy and give as many as possible the opportunity to test these new vehicles. It is encouraging to see the increasing number of drivers already investing in electric hackney cabs.”
Under the council’s Taxi Strategy, all hackney cabs licensed from 2020 must be at least Euro VI emissions standard, and from 2025 only Ultra Low Emission Vehicles (ULEVs) will be registered.
Driver Amer Alam, who started running the city’s first electric taxi earlier in 2018, said: “In the six months I’ve been running the cab I’ve saved £100 a week on fuel, but it’s not just about the cost saving. It’s cleaner and quieter too. I’ve had so many comments from passengers on how much better their journey is.
“I think most drivers understand the benefits of cleaner air and how we can do our part for the city, but this is still relatively new technology and the price can be off putting. Anything the City Council can do to help is good.”
Maqsood Hussain has only had his electric taxi for two weeks, but said he’d had good feedback already: “It’s something different to other cabs. A lot of customers look at the car and think it’s new, different and they want to try it.”
The council is also investing £700,000 of funding from the Office for Low Emission Vehicles to install rapid charge points across the city. Drivers can also take advantage of a free government plug-in grant worth £7,500.