Councillors have backed proposals to incentivise the city’s taxi firms to switch over to electric vehicles (EVs) with perks such as lower licensing fees.
The City of Edinburgh Council’s regulatory committee will meet this May to discuss additional incentives to improve the adoption of EVs – such as the roll out of electric-only taxi ranks in top locations and introducing saloon hackney carriage licences for EVs.
City Cabs and Capital Cabs have both endorsed embracing the green technology. City Cabs, Edinburgh’s largest and oldest taxi company, has already added five EVs to their 450-strong fleet of cabs and has plans to add an additional five.
The firm is set to plug in two rapid chargers at its West End headquarters, which can recharge an EV battery in just 45 minutes.
Les McVay, secretary of City Cabs, commented: “We are getting really good feedback from drivers. They are generally saving between £5 and £7 per shift.
“There are very few working parts on the electric taxis, so the maintenance savings are substantial as well. Customers are liking them too.”
Electric Vehicle Infrastructure
Up until 2015, Edinburgh taxis drivers were prohibited from using EVs but now the council estimates that by 2023 there will be 632 EV taxis and private hire vehicles operating in the city. The council also predicts that by 2020 electric taxis and private hire EVs could save 1,061 tonnes of CO2 annually.
A common barrier to any adoption of EVs is their battery capacity and range. Commenting on this, McVay urged councilors not to go too fast and to ensure the necessary infrastructure was in place to make the adoption of EVs sustainable.
Last October, the City of Edinburgh Council approved a £3.3 million plan to roll out 211 charging points across the city by 2023.
The decision to actively encourage electric taxis is in line with the Scottish Government’s ambition for Scotland to become a leader in green transport and to phase out the need for new petrol and diesel vehicles by 2032.