Updated: Aug 17, 2021
Oxford City Council has announced a new £5,000 grant for Oxford city licenced Hackney Carriage drivers to transition to an electric vehicle following the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the trade.
The £5,000 grant is now available as a grant contribution towards the costs of purchasing a new Ultra Low Emission hackney carriage.
The grant is part of a range of measures for taxi drivers to help support them as they transition to electric vehicles, and for the start of the Zero Emission Zone Pilot.
The grant, which has been funded by the Energy Superhub Oxford project, will provide funding for up to 17 hackney carriage taxis to move to electric.
The £5,000 grant funding, combined with a contribution grant from LEVC, and the Government Plug-in-Grant, means that taxi drivers can save around £12,200 (22%) on the cost of a new TX electric taxi costing £55,600, or an all electric Nissan Dynamo costing £55,495.
To be eligible for the grant, proof of purchase is required and the vehicle will need to be licensed with Oxford City Council.
Currently there are seven electric taxis in Oxford – five hackney carriage, and two private hire - with uptake expected to increase with the introduction of the Zero Emission Zone Pilot.
Try Before You Buy offer:
Alongside this grant funding, the Council has also reduced the cost of its Try Before You Buy scheme, which was previously £150 per week and is currently free of charge.
Through the scheme, the Council is also providing support to the first 10 adopters of zero emission capable hackney carriage and private hire vehicles that are licensed by the City Council and will waive vehicle licence fees and certificate of compliance test fees incurred up to and ending on 31st March 2024.
The scheme aims to encourage taxi drivers to test out two electric taxis - an all-electric Nissan Dynamo and an LEVC TX (London Electric Vehicle Company) - in a real world environment for a two or four-week period.
The new zero cost will allow for 100 weeks of trials to take place, on a first come first served basis, allowing for more taxi drivers to try out electric vehicles. Drivers are encouraged to participate in a trial whilst the cost remains subsidised.
Zero Emission Zone requirements for taxis:
Under the Zero Emission Zone Pilot, which is set for launch later this year, the Councils have agreed emissions requirements for Hackney Carriage vehicles, which will be implemented through the Council’s licensing powers.
Under this agreement, Hackney Carriage e-taxis licensed in Oxford will have to phase to zero-emission vehicles, with drivers able to get a licence in 2025 if they have a zero-emission cab.
There will be a 50% discount for petrol-electric hybrid private hire e-taxis, and out of town Licenced Hackney carriage vehicles that:
emit less than 100 g/km CO2 if the date of first registration is before 1 September 2018
emit less than 140 g/km CO2 if the date of first registration is on or after 1 September 2018.
The different limits are to ensure that the more stringent emissions tests for newer vehicles do not lead to cleaner vehicles being penalised over older, more polluting ones that were tested under a less rigorous system.
Supportive measures for taxis:
Support available to support the taxi trade with vehicle electrification includes:
Free EV introductory course for Private Hire Vehicle drivers in Oxford (3 September)
Free EV introductory course for Private Hire Vehicle drivers in Oxford (14 September)
Work to install up to 16 rapid charging point bays for e-taxis
A free Try Before You Buy Scheme with two electric Hackney Carriages which is running until December 2021
Financial support for licensing ultra-low emission Hackney Carriages and Private Hire vehicles
ODS, the commercial arm of Oxford City Council, is an approved authorised service dealer for LEVC TX electric black cabs
Clipper Automotive offers upgrades for TX4 black cabs to become 100% electric.
Councillor Tom Hayes, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Green Transport and Zero Carbon Oxford, said: "The newest UN climate report is sounding a “code red” for the planet. With this grant funding of £5000 per taxi, we’re helping drivers to do what they all want to do—keep the city moving, but doing so without polluting our lungs or the planet. By switching to electric, local taxi drivers will make big financial and carbon savings."