COVENTRY is leading the transition to electric taxis with a pioneering £1.2million scheme.
The Go Electric Taxi initiative includes a range of incentives for taxi drivers interested in switching to a cleaner vehicle.
It is seeking to modernise the city’s taxis and will offer the opportunity for a two-week test drive for all Hackney cab drivers.
The scheme, launched today by Coventry City Council, will enable cabbies to take look at the new TX Electric Taxi.
Those involved with the scheme claim the new vehicles will offer a premium, better value, service for Coventrians.
The Coventry made cabs will offer laptop and mobile phone charging, free WiFi and card payment – all with zero omissions.
Two thirds of residents have already said they would choose an electric taxi if given the option, the council claims.
Kamran Caan, the council’s cabinet member for public health, said electric vehicles would soon become the norm in the city.
He added: “We are committed to cutting air pollution in Coventry because we know that this will bring health benefits to people particularly vulnerable residents with pre-existing health conditions.
“Electric vehicles are the future both nationally and globally. I hope that Hackney cab drivers will take the opportunity to try out the loan scheme.
“The vehicles are built locally – and the numbers of charging points are increasing all of the time.”
The council led intiative is supported by a range of companies including the vehicle’s designers LEVC, Irish energy company ESB, Siemens and the taxi app Gett.
Siemens and ESB are installing 39 charging points across the city – which the companies claim charge in 30 minutes.
The council claims the first 60 drivers of electric taxis in the city will benefit to the tune of £2,500 from a significant contribution towards their insurance costs and a waiver of several licensing fees.
Chris Gubbey, chief executive of LEVC, said: “Coventry has always been the home of the black cab and this new scheme will ensure that Coventry’s taxi sector has one of the most modern, customer-centric fleets in the UK.
“These extended trials will give drivers a chance to get comfortable with our proven EV technology and see how much the vehicle delights passengers.”
Kartar Sabraiwal, aged 59, purchased one of the new TX models, his sixth Coventry taxi.
The council said Mr Sabraiwal made the investment because it would slash his fuel bills and said it would help him make financial savings in the future.
Mr Sabraiwal covers 70 to 100 miles a day and estimates he will save £400 a month from making the switch.
He added: “Electric vehicles are the future – and will mean a smoother, more pleasant ride for my passengers as well as helping clean up Coventry’s air. The fact I will be financially better off from making the switch is also a big bonus.”
All new electric cabbies can benefit from zero commission on all fares taken with the Gett taxi app for the first six months.
It is specifically for licensed black cabs which can be accessed using the app.