Rapid chargers coming to Kent to encourage taxi and private hire drivers to switch to electric

New electric charging points for taxi and private hire vehicles will be installed across the county by Kent County Council (KCC). KCC has been awarded £180,000 from the Office of Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) to install eight rapid chargers.

Kent County Council will be working with district and borough councils which are responsible for the licensing of taxis and private hire vehicles in their area. The chargers will be for use by taxis and private hire vehicles and will be installed in Canterbury, Maidstone, Sevenoaks, Swale, Tunbridge Wells and Thanet.

KCC Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport, Michael Payne, said: “Air quality is a major concern for Kent and taxis contribute a significant amount of carbon dioxide. “As we are committed to helping business shift towards electric vehicles, I’m delighted that this funding has been awarded, giving KCC another opportunity to act. “I hope that as the lack of charging infrastructure in the county is addressed, it will allow our local district authorities to have confidence to implement regulations and incentives to encourage the use of electric vehicles.” KCC is aiming to convert 5% of the county’s taxi fleet to electric or hybrid vehicles by the end of this year. To meet demand, further six chargers will be installed across the districts, funded by Swarco, the installer and maintenance provider. The proposed sites are: Canterbury: Canterbury Lane and the Maynard Car Park. Maidstone: Pudding Lane. Sevenoaks: Bus station. Swale: Central Avenue. Thanet: Market Street Car Park and Albion Road Car Park. Tunbridge Wells: Mount Pleasant Road.

A further six charging points will be installed in car parks across the districts.

KCC Cabinet Member for the Environment, Susan Carey, said: “The top three barriers cited by drivers changing to electric vehicles are the cost of vehicles, the miles per charge and insufficient charging infrastructure. “Therefore, alongside improving the charging infrastructure and encouraging a shift towards low-emission vehicles, we are proposing to hold further events to showcase the technology and vehicles and engage with drivers. “It is also hoped that the Low Carbon Across the South East (LoCASE) funding available until March will be extended for next financial year which offers taxi drivers an additional grant towards the cost of purchasing an electric or hybrid taxi.”

Image Credit: LEVC

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