Nissan Leaf in St Albans

Executive Summary

In a similar scheme to that of Watford, St Albans taxi drivers were introduced to the benefits of switching to all-electric cars, with the provision of a rapid charger, and the opportunity to rent a fully licensed and insured electric taxi (e-Taxis). Thanks to Electric Blue’s scheme, drivers were able to experience significant savings on fuel costs, whilst helping to improve St Albans’ air quality.

About St Albans Council - e-Taxi and e-Charger Trial

St Albans Council is working hard to improve air quality by reducing emissions. Their Climate Change Action Plan aims for a reduction of emissions by 3% per annum.

The trial in St Albans was part of Electric Blue’s 2025 campaign, which aims to fully decarbonise every taxi in Hertfordshire by that date. Key findings from this trial will be used to develop similar projects throughout the county.

Why taxis?

Here are four key reasons as to why we are targeting taxis for the rEVolution:

  • Most journeys are completed in our most densely populated areas.
  • Drivers can receive substantial savings with low operating costs.
  • Taxis are extremely visible to the public - ideal for promoting the benefits of electric vehicles (EVs).
  • Government Air Quality Policy now provides strong support for transition to EVs.

Challenges

  • Provide evidence for the council, the taxi industry and the public that EVs are feasible for use as taxis.
  • Reassuring ‘range anxiety’ – a popular misconception that the range of EVs is very limited.
  • Demonstrate how quick and easy it is to charge without losing profitable ‘on the road’ time.
  • Demonstrate key benefits to as many users as possible.
  • Provision of charging infrastructure - including usage, locations, reliability and costs.
  • Develop the trial into a model for a rollout across Hertfordshire, with information on charging infrastructure, vehicle usage, costs, and emissions.

Our solution

The trial began in 2015 with the installation of the first rapid charger in Adelaide Street. The charger was officially ‘opened’ by Deputy Mayor Gill Clark, alongside a number of Electric Blue demonstration events.

Electric Blue continues to manage the charger, which is powered by 100% renewable energy, and is capable of providing 70 miles of real-world range within twenty minutes (based on EVs currently approved by the Council). Rapid chargers are fundamental for the conversion to e-Taxis.

During the trial, which lasted for one year, Electric Blue also offered events to promote awareness and provided training and demonstrations. Short-term hire vehicles were available; seventeen taxi drivers took up the fantastic rental offer of just £30 per day.This service highlighted the interest in e-Taxis, and the demand for a larger fleet was proven by our driver waiting list.

Results

St Albans Council and other stakeholders were provided with a full report proving the effectiveness of e-Taxis in delivering the stated objectives. Public support for e-Taxis showed that the trial could be scaled up into a full transition strategy to electrify St Albans’ taxis. Electric Blue engaged with drivers and the public by conducting a survey of those who had participated, which resulted in very positive feedback.

Taxi Charging Station

e-Taxis key findings

  • Carbon / emissions savings = 29.01 tonnes – which calculated to include all taxis in St Albans results in annual savings of 3,850 tonnes
  • Driver savings = £17,144
  • 82,423 miles were covered
  • 75% of drivers would continue to use EVs
  • 100% found EVs were significantly cheaper to operate
  • 97.7% would like to see more e-Taxis
  • 94.2% would choose an e-Taxi over a petrol taxi if there was no difference in the fare

From other EV projects around the UK, it is clear that the charging infrastructure must come first. Additionally, our pilot projects have also demonstrated the importance of:

  • reliable and dedicated rapid chargers for taxis
  • the ability for taxi drivers to book/reserve charging sessions
  • visibility of the live availability of the network
  • the opportunity to trial EVs to break down misconceptions and develop familiarity with new technology

“I am delighted to welcome the #ElectricRevolution to our District. The rapid charging point is an exciting addition to the ten electric charging points already available around the District.”

Cllr Gill Clark (Deputy Mayor, St Albans City and District)

This initiative is supported by St Albans City and District Council which is committed to enabling and delivering transport improvements, including greener transport options, and keeping the District green.

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