A taxi chief has criticised the city council’s strategy for rolling out electric vehicle chargers across the Capital – labelling figures used in assumptions as “absolute nonsense”.
Last October, the council’s transport and environment committee agreed to push forward £3.3 million proposals for installing 211 extra electric charging points for vehicles based on predictions of the demand in both 2020 and 2023.
A total of 68 locations hosting multiple charging points have been identified across the Capital, creating strategic charging hubs for users. Up until 2015, taxi drivers in Edinburgh were not permitted to use electric vehicles – but the council now predicts that by 2023, there will be 623 electric taxis and private hire vehicles operating in the Capital. Councillors on the authority’s regulatory committee indicated they would back methods to encourage taxi companies to go electric.
Tony Kenmuir, chairman of Central Taxis, said he is “dismayed” by the business case assumptions made concerning taxis – claiming there will be a smaller proportion of chargers to vehicles available under the plans.
He said: “If the council agrees to increase the number of chargers at all – that is a step in the right direction. If you’re going to make forecasts and projections there is going to be some educated guesswork involved, but you have to at least start with one foot in reality and this document isn’t even close from the public hire taxi perspective.
“As far as the taxi section goes, none of it adds up. What they’re proposing is a reduction in the number of chargers that are available as a percentage of the electric fleet, domestic and taxi.
“Overall the figures for taxis are so wildly wrong that the document is rendered meaningless. If that reflects on the rest of the document I hope that nobody is going to try and reach conclusions based on the contents.”
The council believes the ratio will be improved in reality as it is predicted that some users will use home-charging and not need access to public infrastructure.
The business case, drawn up by the Energy Savings Trust (EST) on behalf of the council, proposes that residents using the charger will pay a connection fee of 30 pence, but this will be £1 for taxis – along with the tariff charges.
Transport and environment convener, Cllr Lesley Macinnes, said: “Our ambitious electric vehicle infrastructure business case recognises the environmental benefits and increasing popularity of electric vehicles – not just amongst residents but for taxi and private hire drivers too.
“The business case is based on eight months of comprehensive research and data-gathering.”