Electric Revolution begins in St Albans with emission free e-Taxis and Rapid Charger Trial

Nissan Leaf in St Albans

Executive Summary

A new scheme, under the title #ElectricRevolution, run by Herts-based business, Electric Blue introduced the City’s 300 licensed taxi drivers to the benefits of switching to all-electric cars, which are emission free and significantly more cost-effective to operate than current vehicles, by providing a Rapid Charger to power the trial and the opportunity to rent a fully licensed, insured electric taxi.

The trial proved that Electric Vehicles work as taxis. Drivers were able to save a significant amount of money on fuel costs whilst reducing St Albans emissions and improving air quality. Feedback from both drivers and the general public was very positive.

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

St Albans has a Green Travel Plan and this project contributes significantly towards the Council’s Climate Change Action Plan to reduce emissions by 3% per annum. E-Taxi’s were provided as part of a ‘try before you buy’ e-Taxi trial in St Albans. Electric Blue installed and managed a Rapid Charger required to support the trial in Adelaide Street along with the electric taxis. This was part of the wider move in Hertfordshire under the banner of the 2025 campaign which aims to fully decarbonise every taxi in Hertfordshire by that date. Key learnings from this trial will be used to develop similar projects throughout the county.

Why taxis?

Most journeys are completed in our most densely populated and polluted areas and so a sensible starting point for any serious emission reduction plan. Secondly the low operating cost benefit to drivers. Thirdly taxis are very visible and provide an excellent opportunity to promote the benefits of EVs to the public.

Challenges

  • To provide evidence for the council, the taxi industry and the public that (EVs) work as taxis by disproving misconceptions
  • Range anxiety – general idea that the range is very limited
  • To prove that performance is not an issue
  • 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
  • Charging infrastructure - usage, locations, reliability and cost
  • Develop trial into a model for rollout across Herts with information on charging infrastructure, vehicle usage, costs, and emissions

What did we do?

The trial began in June 2015 with the opening of the first Rapid Charger in Adelaide Street by deputy mayor, Gill Clark, and a number of demonstration events, run by Electric Blue.

Electric Blue also installed and managed the charger capable of supporting approximately 25 taxis powered by 100% renewable energy (as all our chargers are) based on current EVs approved by the Council and providing 70 miles of real world range within 20 minutes. These rapid chargers are fundamental to the conversion to EV Taxis. Electric Blue also offered : awareness, training, demonstration and short term hire vehicles.

We provided 17 drivers with a fully licensed, insured electric taxi to rent for just £30 per day. A larger fleet would’ve been desirable - we had a driver trial waiting list!

The trial ran for just over 1 year

St Albans Council and stakeholders were provided with a full report to prove the effectiveness of e-Taxis in delivering the stated objectives. Electric Blue engaged with Drivers and the Public by conducting a survey of those who had participated and received very positive feedback.

Results

The trial proved the effectiveness of and support for e-Taxis and is ready to be scaled up into a full transition strategy. Very positive feedback from customers and businesses with significant numbers having an EV experience.

Taxi Charging Station

  • Carbon /emissions savings 29.01 tonnes – extrapolated to cover all taxis in St Albans - annual saving of 3,850 tonnes
  • Driver savings - £17,144 (during trial)
  • Government Air Quality Policy now provides strong support for transition to electric vehicles
  • 82,423 miles covered
  • 75% drivers would continue to use EVs
  • 100% found EVs were significantly cheaper to operate
  • 97.7% would like to see more electrics taxis
  • 94.2% would chose an electric taxi over a petrol if there was no difference in the fare.

Whilst it is clear from other EV projects around the UK that the charging infrastructure must come first, our pilot projects have also demonstrated that to deliver change requires:

  • reliable, 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 the familiarity with a 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 of St Albans City and District

The 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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