An Edinburgh taxi firm has installed its first electric vehicle charging point in an attempt to reduce harmful emissions within the city.
City Cabs has introduced charging points to support drivers switching from petrol and diesel to electric vehicles.
The firm currently has ten drivers operating in an electric vehicle with another 12 expressing their intention to make the switch in the near future. With that in mind, City Cabs applied for funding from Transport Scotland through a programme managed by the Energy Saving Trust to bring the charging points to its Atholl Place office as part of its green strategy.
Les McVay, City Cabs secretary, said: “The new electric taxi is proving to be very popular with our drivers and customers. We currently have ten electric vehicles on the road with another twelve having applied for the grant through the Energy Savings Trust.
“The tipping point for the taxi trade to turn fully electric will be when the battery range extends to being able to cover a full shift without having to stop for a recharge and the charging infrastructure expands to facilitate the growing number of electric vehicles.”
Homeowners who own or use an electric or plug-in car can also apply for grant support towards the installation of a home charging unit.
The charging point is currently free to act as an incentive for drivers to make the significant investment which Les says cabbies will reap the benefits from in the long run.
He added: “A recent policy has said that if you’re buying a new electric car which will cost around £63,000 then you can get a grant through the Energy Saving Trust for £7,000 towards it. The charging point is offering a chance for drivers to get a break from driving by recharging, as they would for filling up their tank.”
Les said current vehicles have a range of around 80 miles, but hopes in the near future Mercedes will allow its Vito vans to be converted into cabs with them boasting double that figure.
“It would be great and a real game-changer for taxi drivers if they could drive 150 miles without having to stop and charge up,” he said.
“We have to move with the times and electric vehicles are only going to get more popular as further electric charging points are introduced.
“The feedback from the fleet has been positive with the ability to save a lot of money.”
Matthew Eastwood, head of transport in Scotland at Energy Saving Trust, said: “Sales of plug-in vehicles have been increasing every year and we have no doubt that this trend will continue due to the substantial fuel cost savings that can be achieved. Facilities like these will help strengthen the national network of charging points and are crucial in supporting the growing number of EV drivers in Scotland.”