Technology is being used to show taxi drivers how electric vehicles can help their business and the environment.
Cheshire West and Chester Council have teamed up with EB Charging for a pilot scheme which will see telematics devices installed in a selection of petrol and diesel taxis in the area.
Private Hire and Taxi Monthly reports that the trial, which is expected to last four to six weeks, will see data collected from taxi drivers as they go about their normal shifts. Following the trial, EB Charging will produce a report for the driver or taxi company to show how switching to an EV would benefit their particular business.
As well as benefiting the environment, maintenance and running costs of an EV are much lower than petrol or diesel equivalents.
Passengers are also becoming more aware of the environment and are taking steps to reduce their own carbon footprint, including travelling by EVs.
While many will agree with the drive to become greener, one of the main concerns for taxi drivers is the range of EVs compared to their current vehicles, and being able to charge them when necessary.
By working in conjunction with the councils, issues such as access to charging points can be addressed, with those on the front line being able to offer their input.
By monitoring taxi drivers as they go about their normal day, the pilot will collect data that is relevant to taxi drivers, their passengers, and taxi bases, in the environment they operate in, and not model systems devised in an office using hypothetical scenarios. The data comes from real taxi drivers picking up real passengers, varying lengths of journeys, waiting times and being stuck in traffic.
It is the sort of information many taxi drivers would have used to make a decision when buying their current petrol or diesel vehicle – the number of passengers it can carry, space for luggage, fuel economy, and how it will affect their taxi insurance. It has to be able to do what they need it to do.
In the same way, with the sale of new petrol and diesel cars in the UK being banned from 2030, businesses such as taxi drivers and operators need time to be able to make the change smoothly.
Technology around EVs, and especially their batteries and chargers, is constantly evolving and improving, but taxi drivers have specific requirements that have to be addressed before they make the switch to EV.
Their input into schemes like the Cheshire West trial is vital because they know the area they work in and what they need to remain flexible and be able to do their job.
Range anxiety is a major obstacle to people switching to an EV, but by knowing the area they operate in, knowing what their new EV will be capable of and knowing where charging points will be, taxi drivers can be far more confident that they will be able to continue doing the job they enjoy.
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