The UK’s most extensive programme for encouraging taxi drivers to upgrade to an electric vehicle is being launched in Coventry today.
The Go Electric Taxi scheme includes a range of different incentives worth £2,500 for taxi drivers interested in making the switch to a cleaner vehicle – as well as the opportunity for a two-week test drive for all Coventry Hackney cab drivers.
The initiative, led by Coventry City Council, is supported by a range of companies including, the Coventry electric taxi maker LEVC, Irish energy company ESB, Siemens and the taxi app Gett.
Hackney carriage owners in Coventry will be getting the chance to try out the latest electric cabs produced by LEVC, as part of a scheme to encourage cabbies to understand more about the benefits of electric taxis.
An event today, at Coventry railway station, has been organised to enable Coventry cabbies to take a closer look at the new state-of-the-art TX Electric Taxi, and sign up to a 12 day loan scheme.
Go Electric Taxi aims to speed up the modernisation of the Coventry taxi fleet and offer a premium, better value, service for Coventarians. All these vehicles will offer laptop charging, mobile phone charging, free wifi, card payment – and zero emission capable driving.
Two thirds of Coventry residents have already said that they would specifically choose an electric taxi, if given the option.
Cllr Kamran Caan, the Council’s Cabinet Member for Public Health and Sport said that in future year’s electric vehicles would be the norm.
He added: “We are committed to cutting air pollution in Coventry because we know that this will bring health benefits to people particularly vulnerable residents with pre-existing health conditions.
“Electric vehicles are the future both nationally and globally. I hope that Hackney cab drivers will take the opportunity to try out the loan scheme. The vehicles are built locally – and the numbers of charging points are increasing all of the time.”
Cllr Jayne Innes, Cabinet Member for City Services in Coventry, said that she was keen to support local cabbies in helping them to look at options for maintaining their high standards of services.
She added: “We are very proud of the high standards of our licensed taxi drivers, and their key role in welcoming people to the city and supporting the local community and businesses. I’m really keen to see how drivers find the loan scheme, especially if it can bring benefits to their business and improve standards for customers in Coventry.”
As part of the scheme, the first 60 drivers of electric taxis in the city will benefit from a significant contribution towards their insurance costs, as well as a waiver of several licensing fees, this is valued at around £2,500. The scheme has been funded by grants from the Office of Low Emission Vehicles and the Government’s Joint Air Quality Unit.
Jesse Norman, Minister for Roads and the Future of Mobility said: “Britain’s black cabs are iconic around the world. That is why the Government is supporting this initiative with £1.2 million, helping Coventry to champion these new electric models.
"The Government is committed to improving the country’s air quality and creating a low carbon economy, which is already worth billions. Low emission vehicles will be a key part of that transition, showing that we can meet our climate change obligations and also promote economic growth.”