Coventry’s cab drivers are embracing the transition to electric vehicles following the launch of an EV trial scheme two months ago according to LEVC.
Since the start of the Go Electric Taxi pilot in September, places on the scheme have been oversubscribed and the scheme is fully booked until mid-February next year. The scheme – which has been funded by a grant from the Government's Joint Air Quality Unit and includes a £2500 incentive package for the first 60 electric taxis – has seen a significant jump in the number of cab drivers placing orders. This means that at the start of 2019, there will be at least 15 electric taxis on the city’s streets – with 9 orders placed following the launch of the scheme. 18 drivers have so far taken part in the try before you buy scheme. Each of these vehicles reduces a driver’s carbon footprint by 7 tonnes every year and has a significant air quality benefit – especially as many drivers are stepping out of older diesel vehicles. However, there isn’t just a benefit for the environment – with drivers reporting they are now spending less than £10 a day on fuel, compared with around £30 a day in their current diesel vehicle. This in part due to the dedicated ESB/Siemens rapid charging points that have been rolled out by the City Council. A number of recent studies have also shown other driver benefits – and have shown that EV drivers are less stressed and more focused than those behind the wheel of a diesel vehicle. Likewise, the newer vehicles come with advanced air conditioning systems which mean that drivers are better protected from external air pollution. Kartar Sabraiwal, was the first driver to benefit from the scheme when it was first launched. He has now had his electric taxi for three months and has been covering around 70 to 100 miles a day in the taxi. “It’s been fantastic,” Mr Sabraiwal said: “All my passengers much prefer the new taxi – saying that the panoramic roof and more spacious interior make them want to use black cabs more often. In addition, I’m seeing a fuel saving of around £400 a month from having made the switch.” All of trial participants surveyed have said that all of passengers loved the improved space and comfort of the new vehicle. This news comes at a time when Coventry City Council is considering tightening up emission standards in a bid to tackle poor local air quality – promising a full electric fleet by 2024. Chris Gubbey, CEO of LEVC said: “We have been delighted by the response of Coventry taxi drivers to the Go Electric Taxi scheme. If the response is anything like the rest of the UK, then the enthusiasm will only grow. Our new taxi makes the black cab trade more attractive to passengers and improves the trade’s competitiveness in the long-run.” All LEVC TXs are eligible for the UK Government’s plug-in taxi grant – which is guaranteed until the end of 2020.