Sheffield City Council have opened a new scheme giving local taxi drivers the chance to trial an electric taxi. Eight “Black cab” style London Electric Vehicle Company (LEVCs) will be available for two weeks.
All of the electric taxis are wheelchair accessible and aim to give drivers a hands-on experience of an electric taxi, while being cleaner, greener and saving on the cost of diesel.
The council is working with Sherbet, who were the winner in the competitive tender to deliver the scheme. Sherbet currently operate 500 electric taxis around the country.
Councillor Douglas Johnson, Executive Member for Climate Change, Environment and Transport, said: "Many taxis are older, polluting vehicles and that’s why the Clean Air Zone is about unlocking substantial grants so that taxi drivers can upgrade their vehicles to either Euro 6 or all-electric standards. This electric taxi trial will really help drivers to decide on the best choice for their business. Electric taxis will complement other measures across the city to clean up the air and reduce carbon emissions from a vital and important part of Sheffield’s transport systems."
The trial requires a deposit and £50 fee from each driver. During the length of the trial, the driver will receive £50 free charging at the council’s 10 taxi-only rapid charging points recently installed by Sheffield City Council. These will recharge the taxis to 80% in 45 minutes. The charging points are located in places convenient for taxi drivers, including near the Northern General hospital and Sheffield train station.
Asher Moses, Founder of Sherbet, said: “We want to make it easy for Sheffield taxi drivers to switch from diesel to electric, reducing toxic emissions. Sherbet is set to now take the iconic London taxi to another level, continue to integrate with smart cities such as Sheffield and embrace the demand for clean, green, sustainable, and safe transport.”
The scheme is funded through the Government’s Early Measures Fund for reducing air pollution. The scheme was approved by Sheffield’s Cabinet in November 2020.
Councillor Terry Fox, Leader of Sheffield City Council, said: ”There are big benefits to our drivers in switching to electric, reduced maintenance costs, cheaper refuelling and it’s better for the environment. It’s great to see this hands on trial taking off and it will be really interesting to hear the feedback from drivers.”