The team at Plan were in Nottingham for an event hosted by CleanTech Business for the Nottingham City Council, giving their local taxi drivers the chance to find out more about the new Electric Taxi. The open dialogue was certainly something TfL could take on board to help rebuild bridges with the London cab trade.
The electric taxi takeover seems to be gathering in pace, with the LEVC announcing that October saw a record of 172 electric taxis registered UK wide. But as we approach the 7th month anniversary of the first electric taxi being licensed and taking fares, questions are still being asked about whether the E-vehicles are worth switching over to?
The LEVC put the surge in orders down to drivers beginning to appreciate the value of the electric taxi and the clear budget savings a driver can make – pointing out that with escalating costs of diesel, the average cab driver will save £110 a week in fuel cost by moving to the TX eCity.
While these price projections are certainly appealing, drivers still have some on-going concerns surrounding the lack of infrastructure for charge points and the ongoing maintenance costs of the vehicles.
The Plan team were recently in Nottingham for an event hosted by the City Council, giving their local taxi drivers the chance to find out more about the new electric taxi and to take a test drive. As the pictures below show, the Electric TX offers interior of the highest quality – as well as offering on-board Wi-Fi, mobile phone and laptop charging. While drivers got to see the clear value of purchasing an electric taxi, a number of questions were raised about the lack of charge points in Nottingham and the lack of accessibility to them.
Concerns centred on why there are no charge points located at the taxi ranks. Many seemed to blame this for the fact that the electric revolution has not yet taken place. Many fear a loss of earnings if they have to leave a taxi rank to charge their vehicles, and then re-join the back of a queue when they return.
Safety was another issue that was raised. Attendees let it be known that they would be anxious regarding the lack of protection for drivers whilst they operate such high-value vehicles.
This would surely be a similar concern in London following the heightened media attention surrounding the Lisson Grove area, where cab drivers have been subjected to acts of violence. One instance in particular saw a cabbie pelted with “large objects” which eventually caused him £5,000 worth of vehicle damage.
Our head of Sales & Schemes Daniel Severin was happy to discuss the specific aspects relating to electric taxi insurance, and particularly the cost of premiums and what is and isn’t covered. A specific question was raised about cover for the glass roof, which is covered by the policy, but not as part of the glazing insurance (e.g. damage to the glass roof would require a policyholder to submit material damage claim and not a windscreen claim).
The representatives from the Nottingham council didn’t have all the answers, but by inviting members of the community to sit down, discuss their options and address their concerns they helped generate a lot of engagement. Sure that’s something that other authorities should try to replicate?