The founder of an Isle of Wight taxi firm is so hooked on electric vehicles that he will never buy a petrol or diesel car again.
Kevin Barton, CEO of We Go Local Solutions LTD and Go Taxi, used his tech background to help create sustainable businesses on the popular holiday island which enjoys a bustling hospitality and entertainment sector.
While catering for influxes of tourists, holidaymakers and visitors to the Isle of Wight Festival, sustainability and the environment are major concerns, especially to protect the island for the future.
Kevin said: “Go Taxi is a booking app similar to Uber and Lyft and needed to be tech-based, especially for the environment. Sustainability is a big issue on the Isle of Wight and we knew if we were going to create a taxi fleet and delivery fleet, they needed to be environmentally friendly and we needed electric vehicles to do that.
“From the start, taxi drivers wanted to stick with the petrol and diesel cars that they knew and the Isle of Wight only had three rapid chargers so they were understandably concerned about the range of the vehicles, as well as how and when they could charge them.”
For Kevin and the team, the key is understanding the needs of taxi and delivery drivers and working out processes to use the charging infrastructure as efficiently as possible. The addition of more rapid chargers and drivers becoming familiar with electric vehicles has seen a complete turnaround in attitudes.
Kevin said: “Things changed about 12 months ago and now we have a great routine going. The drivers can leave vehicles on chargers overnight so they are ready for the next day and if they are handing over a car to another driver, it is always 80% to 90%-plus and they never let the range get below 30 per cent.
“The message is they need to charge them whenever they can. Instead of running them down to almost nothing, when they get to about 70%, they charge for about 15 minutes to get it back to about 90% and this happens three or four times a day, so the taxi is always ready, rather than having to wait for a full charge.”
As well as adopting a more environmentally friendly approach to running taxis and deliveries, there are other benefits of EVs.
Kevin said: “Because sustainability is such an important issue, especially on an island, we have been able to go into partnerships with businesses that match our environmental ambitions and more opportunities are arising.”
For Kevin, both professionally and personally, electric vehicles are the future for transport.
He said: “We would not be able to grow our services without being sustainable and the environment being at the core of what we do. Owning an electric vehicle, I would never go back to a petrol or diesel car again. Like many people, I initially I had doubts, but people panic and resist change and this is definitely a change for the better.
“The key to it is understanding what is needed and stopping the anxiety about range and charging times.
“It didn’t happen overnight, but now we are reaping the rewards. Everything runs smoothly and it is not just better for the environment. Driving an EV is a real experience and the torque is incredible, making it something the drivers can really enjoy.”
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