Bristol City Council is expanding its free electric van loan scheme with new taxis

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Bristol City CouncilHackney Carriage’s free electric vehicle hire scheme has been extended to include licensed Hackney Carriage drivers after a successful launch phase, as the city prepares for the Clean Air Zone in November.

In March, the council launched a new scheme offering free electric vehicle trials to Bristol organizations to encourage them to adopt cleaner means of transport ahead of the zone’s launch on November 28.

Businesses, charities, sole traders and other organizations have the opportunity to try electric vans and cars for up to two months, to better understand the benefits and how electric vehicles could work for them .

The free electric vehicle loan scheme, fully funded by National Highways, allows the council’s fleet services team to purchase up to 64 vehicles in batches, of which 12 are currently on loan and 15 will arrive soon.

Vehicles can be loaned to local organizations until March 2024.

From this month, two of London Electric Vehicle Company’s purpose-built TX electric taxis will be available to Bristol City Council-licensed hackney drivers for free two- to four-week loans, in the framework of this program.

Councilor Don Alexander, Cabinet Member for Transport, said: “I am delighted to see that our free trial electric van program has been extremely popular since its launch just a few months ago.

“Over 60 organizations have tested a van or car so far and had a chance to see what it’s like to rely on electricity: exploring things like battery range, access to charging stations and the cost of keeping these vehicles on the road.

“Many told us that the free loan helped them accelerate their plans to add electric vehicles to their existing fleets.

“Taxis are an important part of our transport infrastructure in Bristol, so we are delighted to extend the free electric vehicle hire scheme to our licensed Hackney Carriage drivers.

“Having an idea of ​​the smoothness of the ride and the price of charging will provide local drivers with a cleaner vehicle choice and the opportunity to help us reduce the toxic air pollution that is so harmful to our health.

“We all have a role to play in ensuring Bristol gets cleaner air and although some petrol and diesel vehicles will be allowed in the Clean Air Zone, the EV program provides a useful discovery step for anyone considering making the switch to electricity for his business.”

Angela Halliwell, carbon and air quality manager at National Highways, said: “We are working with councils across the country to encourage businesses to switch to electric vehicles and we expect many others start using electric vehicles when they realize the savings they can make. .

“We have invested £3.2 million in this initiative with Bristol City Council – a key example of how we use designated funds to benefit the environment and communities around our roads as well as people who travel and work on it.”

Each taxi runs exclusively on electricity but has an additional on-board generator – a small 1.5 liter petrol engine – called a range extender.

This increases the number of miles the taxi driver can travel on a single charge from 64 miles to 318 miles, completely eliminating range anxiety.

Featuring flexible space for up to six passengers, the TX includes an integrated wheelchair ramp and can accommodate a forward-facing wheelchair – the only taxi of its type to do so.

Patrick Masih, a local taxi driver, said; “I am delighted to be part of this trial. LEVC is a very elegant, durable and solid vehicle.

“This is the way forward to improve local air quality, reduce noise pollution and reduce carbon emissions in Bristol.

“It is important that taxi drivers test LEVC in our current fuel crisis. Trying it allows us to think carefully about the big decision and financial commitment of switching to electric vehicles. »

If new taxis attract a very high number of free loan applications, the council will give priority to taxi drivers whose vehicles will not meet Bristol Clean Air Zone emission standards or those whose vehicles are approaching the end of their working life.

Taxi drivers applying for a free electric taxi loan must drive at least one petrol or diesel vehicle and make frequent trips in and out of town on the M32 or other motorways and major roads or travel regularly through the Clean Air Zone.

There is a waiting list of Bristol-based organizations already signed up to try out a van or electric car. New applicants wishing to test vans or cars can expect their loans to start in January 2023 or later.

More information about the program and the application form can be found at www.travelwest.info/electrictaxi

Pictured: Angela Halliwell; Councilor Donald Alexander; Jonathan Hill, National Highways Route Manager; Patrick Masih; and Mahad Jama, Director, Magans Taxis

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