The UK-based taxi operator City Taxis announced plans to roll out 1,500 new vehicles and become one of the first firms in Europe to go fully electric. They plan to make the shift to electric cars by 2025 with cars from Nissan in Sheffield.
The new cooperation comes as the city of Sheffield announced plans for a Clean Air Zone in the city centre, charging £10-a-day for the most polluting vehicles and £50 for buses. This is reminiscent of London’s ULEZ and Congestion charge.
Sheffield’s local newspaper The Star quotes City Taxis Managing Director Arnie Singh saying “I want Sheffield to have the first electric taxi fleet in the UK. If we are going for it, let’s go for it as a city and do it right.” Going for it, in this case, means teaming up with Renault-Nissan and working on switching the entire taxi fleet over until 2025. The link-up with Nissan-Renault came after City’s software supplier iCabbi was snapped up by the car maker’s banking arm RCI Banque, reports The Star.
For now, the scheme depends on the success of a pilot of seven electric Nissan Leafs. However, if it proves successful, up to 1,500 vehicles could be replaced with electric cars. Drivers would pay for the vehicles over a fixed period, but would obviously save on fuel.
To charge the new fleet once it hits the road, up to 12 rapid-charging hubs in shipping containers would be installed around the city. Not only for taxis though – but they would also be open to the public and come equipped with wifi and facilities similar to a petrol station.
According to Mr Singh, City Taxis is in talks with Sheffield City Council about the charging hubs’ location. The Star quotes Councillor Bob Johnson, cabinet member for transport and development at Sheffield City Council, saying Sheffield would do “everything it can” to make the project a success. Johnson also confirmed that charging infrastructure is already underway as the city “will install 22 charge points with capacity for 44 vehicles. We have been talking to taxi drivers to make sure they’re located in the right place,” he said.
Sheffield’s proposed Clean Air Zone is set to be introduced in early 2021 and apply to all non-compliant vehicles within, or on, the ring road. City Taxis hopes to have 700 electric cars on the road by then.
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