On a trip to Mexico City this week, I have just seen a lovely sight. A long row of all-electric Nissan Leafs lined up in a taxi rank ready to start the day.
If you have ever been to Mexico City, then you will know that air pollution is a major issue here, as it is now becoming in all large cities. The taxi rank is not yet a full solution, and the city is still filled with diesels and petrol guzzlers blasting out noxious fumes, but it is a step in the right direction. I hope for many more.
THE Taxi Centre – one of the UK’s leading suppliers of cars to the taxi industry – has taken delivery of its first batch of 100 percent electric Nissan LEAFs as it predicts a major surge in demand for the market-leading model during 2017.
The Glasgow-based company – part of Vertu Motors plc – has taken an initial batch of 15 LEAFs but forecasts making more than 100 sales in the next 12 months and more than 300 the year after.
Allan McGinness, General Manager at The Taxi Centre, said:
“The LEAF has a proven track record in service with taxi operators large and small across the UK and can really help them achieve massive savings.
“We’ve been waiting for the right electric vehicle for the taxi industry and we’re convinced the LEAF is that vehicle.”
There are currently more than 200 Nissan EV taxis in operation across Britain, with dozens more on order and many taxi companies and local authorities taking steps to replace diesel and petrol equivalents with cleaner and cheaper EV alternatives.
Last year it was revealed that more than three million UK taxi miles had been clocked up in all-electric Nissan taxis. Had the same distance – equivalent to six journeys to the moon and back or 120 times around the world – been covered in the diesel vehicles the Nissan EVs replaced, it would have cost an estimated £350,000 in fuel.
However, with average running costs of just two pence per mile, covering three million miles in the LEAF would have cost around £60,000 – a massive saving of £290,000.
With zero tailpipe emissions, the model would also contribute to improving air quality in the towns and cities in which they operate.
The Evolt Electric Vehicle (EV) charge point infrastructure supplied and installed by APT Controls at the Dundee taxi company 203020 has become an ‘ideal model’ for cab firms looking to go electric, according to its CEO David Young.
203020 is increasing its fleet to 100 fully electric vehicles, making it the largest EV taxi fleet in the UK.
Dundee is currently vying with seven other cities for £20 million of funding to become the UK’s electric taxi capital – and Evolt is playing a significant part in helping to achieve this.
APT Controls was selected after a full tender process as the key supplier to 203020’s fleet of 30 EVs, and has subsequently installed five top-of-the-range 50kW Tri-Rapid chargers, which efficiently charge vehicles in half an hour, and a further ten 7kW chargers that are ideal for quick ‘top ups’.
David says Evolt came highly recommended:
“Two companies informed me of its reliability, and when it came to choosing a product, Evolt really stood out.
“The equipment is very well installed, maintained to high levels and we have never had a problem with their use – which is testament to the manufacturer’s quality since each Rapid Charger is in consistent use with approximately 17 and 21 charges every day.”
Now the charging infrastructure is in place, David says that another 100 EVs are currently on order:
“Since the EV programme started one year ago, over 30 taxi firms from all over the UK have visited to see our set up,” he says. “It’s an ideal model of environmental success, and Evolt has really helped in driving it forward with its reliable charge points.”
David says 203020 will have 100 EVs on the road within six months:
“This time next year every vehicle we own will be 100 percent electric, and with that expansions come an increased use of the charge points. Two of our Rapid chargers are already the busiest in the UK, and our original 30 EVs will very soon reach 1,000,000 miles, saving hundreds of tons of carbon emissions.”
Justin Meyer, General Manager for Evolt, anticipates an increased role in the future:
“The take-up of EVs, and therefore the increased need for charge points, is accelerating and we forecast significant growth in the supply of our EV charging solutions to taxi companies as well as to local councils for their fleets and initiatives.”
Evolt’s Rapid Charging range of 50kW DC and 43kW AC output systems is made up of two carefully designed products; the Compact Charger and the Advanced Charger. Both are proven systems allowing EV charging at AC and DC outlets on the unit (when enabled). Each unit also has a built in 3G communications modem enabling remote monitoring of the charging process and charging data collection (where needed). And its 7kW dual-socket range is robustly designed and features an intelligent tamper-proof opening mechanism to increase security.
After the Great Smog of 1952 killed up to 12,000 Londoners, the country cleaned up its act. But today, pollution of another kind may be just as insidious – and almost as lethal.
Imagine smog so thick that you can’t see your feet as you walk through it; so impenetrable that it blots out the sun; so toxic that it stings your eyes and leaves you gasping for breath.
It may sound like the backdrop to some post-apocalyptic nightmare, but on 5 December 1952, this terrifying scenario became the reality for the people of London. That day’s incident alone killed thousands and prompted a global transformation in the way we deal with air pollution.
On that cold, clear day in 1952, Londoners huddled around their coal fires for warmth. But while the smoke would normally disperse into the atmosphere, an anticyclone hanging over the region created an inversion – trapping the pollution close to the ground and leading to the formation of a sulphurous, toxic shroud that would blanket the capital for the next five days.
Before the weather conditions changed and the smog retreated, thousands had died. Official estimates at the time put the number of fatalities at 4,000 – more civilian casualties than were caused by any single incident during the war – while recent research suggests that it may have caused as many as 12,000 deaths.
London based, zero-emissions taxi firm eConnect Cars, has launched a crowdfunding campaign to finance the next phase of its growth ahead of the introduction of the Ultra-Low Emission Zone in London.
From January 2020, as part of London’s forthcoming Ultra-Low Emission Zone, all private hire cars (taxis) less than 18 months old must be zero emissions capable in order to get a license. This means they will need to be able to have a range of at least 30 miles in zero emission mode.
eConnect cars goes one step further by having a fleet consisting entirely of 100% electric vehicles, the Nissan Leaf and Tesla Model S. This eliminates completely the disbursement of particulate matter from exhaust pipes that contributes to the death of approximately 9,000 people per year in London alone.
The company has already raised over 20% of its £400,000 crowdfunding target in the first couple of days. This shows the significant level of interest in the campaign, indicative of people’s concern for environmental matters, particularly with relation to health and pollution in our cities.
The Nissan Leaf is Europe’s leading electric taxi, with over 300 currently in use in countries from Estonia to Germany and The Netherlands. The UK has the most of any European country with over 120 vehicle; however, London, given its population density and pollution, surprisingly only accounts for 20% of this fleet. eConnect, the only Nissan Leaf fleet operator in London, wants to readdress this balance and is looking to double the size of its fleet through this crowdfunding campaign.
Managing Director, Alistair Clarke said:
“There is tremendous pressure on London and other large cities when it comes to urban mobility. With population growth, congestion and air pollution increasingly challenging the status quo, innovative companies like eConnect cars are forging a new integrated multi-modal transport solution.
“With new legislation coming into place [from 2018], running ultra-low emission fleets will become the only viable option. While many competitors seek to stall these changes, eConnect is not only embracing change but is also innovating in the market and showing what positive steps can be done today for a cleaner future.”
Nissan is heading the electric vehicle revolution with more than 550 electric taxis now on the road in Europe.
During 2015 alone, over 100 electric vehicles were delivered to taxi companies across Europe and growth of the electric taxi market looks set to continue, as its popularity has started to take hold in Eastern Europe. Budapest company Green Lite Taxi has purchased 65 Nissan LEAFs in a bid to become Hungary’s largest zero emission fleet. To power its pioneering franchise, the company has installed seven quick chargers within the city.
In Estonia, it has been reported that a Nissan LEAF owned by taxi company, Elektritakso, has clocked up over 218,000 kilometres (135,459 miles) on its original battery pack, showcasing the high quality and reliability of Nissan’s electric vehicle range.
Nissan electric vehicles – which include the Nissan LEAF and the e-NV200, a passenger and light commercial vehicle – are becoming increasingly popular among European taxi businesses, with the Netherlands and the UK topping Nissan’s e-taxi league table, followed by Estonia, Hungary and Germany…
Taxi Electric in Amsterdam was the first private taxi service to switch to a fleet of 100 percent electric taxis in November 2011. Since then, others from across Europe have joined the revolution, with the Nissan LEAF and e-NV200 now being used by taxi businesses in Stockholm, Prague, Barcelona and Rome.
Gareth Dunsmore, director of electric vehicles for Nissan Europe, said: “We are so proud to be announcing this all-important milestone. Nissan has already delivered 30 percent more e-taxis this year than in 2014 and this figure is constantly increasing, as more taxi companies realise the benefits of becoming 100 percent electric.”
This is encouraging news, though it should be rolled out to all cities
Eight cities have received a huge boost in their bid to win part of a £20 million fund to increase the number of plug-in taxis.
The shortlist of 8 potential winning schemes will each receive a government-backed study into providing more environmentally-friendly travel opportunities in their area.
The studies will gather vital information into how local authorities could use the money to reduce the upfront cost of purpose-built taxis and install charging infrastructure for taxi and private hire use.
The government will announce the winning schemes in April next year.
Transport Minister Andrew Jones said:
Plug-in taxis are cheaper to run, better for the environment and an example of Britain leading the way in an innovative industry. That is why government is investing £500 million in low emission vehicles over the next 5 years to make them an accessible and affordable choice for all.
These cities have shown they are commitment to adopting greener technology and the government is backing their ambition by showing the benefits a share of £20 million of funding could deliver.
Today’s announcement is the latest example of the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) helping support the government’s aim for every car and van to be zero emissions by 2050.
The 8 feasibility studies, each backed by £30,000 of government funding, will be independently carried out by the Energy Saving Trust (EST).
Philip Sellwood, Chief Executive, Energy Saving Trust, said:
“We’re really looking forward to working alongside government in taking this pioneering scheme forward and witnessing the huge benef its it will bring to businesses.”
“Our experience in this area gives us every confidence that organisations as diverse as licensing authorities, car manufacturers, district network operators and charge-point installers can become leading players in rolling out ultra-low emission taxis and private hire vehicles right across the country.”
Local authorities who are not shortlisted are still able to submit bids for a share of the £20 million fund, but will have to cover the cost of their own feasibility study.
A Nissan LEAF taxi in Cornwall has clocked up its 100,000th mile (160,000 km) since entering service with C&C Taxis in 2013.
‘Wizzy’ as it was named by operators at St Austell-based C&C Taxis, hit the milestone in the course of more than 25,000 pure electric paying fares and having been rapid charged over 1,700 times yet retains near full battery health and is still on its first set of brake pads.
Inspired by Wizzy’s performance, C&C Taxis now operates five 100% electric Nissan LEAFs and an all-electric Nissan e-NV200 van.
Mark Richards, fleet manager at C&C Taxis, estimates that each vehicle saves the business around £8,500 per year in fuel bills and maintenance costs.
“When we speak to other taxi operators they often tell us range and battery life are the biggest factors preventing them from considering an electric taxi,” he said. “Then, when we tell them Wizzy’s done 100,000 miles and still has full battery health, they’re left speechless.”
“It’s no exaggeration to say Wizzy has transformed our business. We took a gamble when we bought her but she’ll have paid for herself in just 24 months and the savings we’re now making across the fleet are phenomenal,” he added.
Those that often take the train from Paddinton (in London) now have a new means of getting to and from the stations — and a new, electric means at that — according to recent reports.
Thanks to a new partnership between the taxi service eConnect cars and First Great Western services, travelers will now be able to pre-book taxi transfers to + from the train stations in a Tesla Model S or a Nissan LEAF.
For those that can’t afford to actually own a Model S, but still love the things, this might be a good way to get your fix, I suppose.
“This is the first time a train operator has partnered with an electric vehicle operator in London to create a transport solution that truly represents smarter, greener travel for those coming to and from London,” stated Alistair Clarke, owner and managing director of eConnect cars.
For a bit of background here, eConnect cars was established just last January (in 2014) in London, and has, to date, provided more than 10,500 customers with taxi service and traveled over 93,000 miles doing so. All in electric vehicles of course.
According to the company, the use of an all-electric fleet for such service resulted in the prevention of 40 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions last year.
All in all, if I take that route anytime in the near future, I think that I’ll probably have to give the service a try. Probably beats a gas taxi pretty handily.