Sheffield City Council has secured funding to introduce a scheme to let local taxi drivers borrow an electric taxi on a trial basis.
The scheme will give local drivers hands-on experience of the next generation of the traditional ‘Black Cab’ from summer of 2021.
SheffNews reports that the fleet of up to 11 vehicles will be available initially for short-term trials of 2-4 weeks. They aim to give drivers a hands-on experience of an electric taxi, while being cleaner, greener and saving on the cost of diesel.
Bob Johnson, Cabinet Member for Transport and Sustainability said: “Changing to electric, especially when you’re driving all day is a big shift and giving local drivers a chance to ‘try before you buy’ will help to make that change easier for some. Sheffield is a hilly city and if an electric cab can cope with a run up Walkley road, they’ll cope with anything”
The funding to purchase the vehicles has been secured from Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with revenue funding to deliver the scheme from Sheffield Council. The council will be seeking to procure a delivery partner for the scheme in early 2021.
The trials will give drivers all the benefits of an electric vehicle without the overhead costs. Many who previously looked to upgrade their vehicles may have had their plans set back by the impact of Covid, which has had a significant impact on drivers of traditional hackney cabs.
In keeping with Sheffield’s licensing standards, the taxis will be 100% wheelchair accessible. Taxi drivers looking to charge their vehicles will be able to do so at 27 new rapid charging points being installed across the city and coming online in early 2021, with ten points reserved solely for taxis.
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