‘Rapid charge’ points to jolt Cambridge’s electric taxi dreams

PUBLISHED: 10:50 10 March 2017

Cambridge electric cars infographic

Cambridge electric cars infographic

ILIFFE

Cambridge is to get a surge of new ‘rapid charge’ points for electric vehicles which will support the start of the city taxi service’s switch to batteries.

The city council is paying £100,000 for four such points – which would support more than 50 electric taxis – and the City Deal is expected to contribute £100,000 for some more.

A £500,000 Government grant could fund enough charge points to support the switchover of the city’s entire taxi fleet.

Only two fully electric taxis currently operate in Cambridge – both are Nissan Leafs owned by Panther Cabs.

Aims to switch to an electric fleet have been suggested, licensing only new low-emissions taxis after 2021, with a complete switchover in 2026.

Jo Dicks, who is heading the electric vehicle changeover for the city council, said of the new rapid charge points: “At the moment they are planned to be installed in four major taxi destinations around the city – outside the Cowley Road depot, Cambridge station car park, an Addenbrooke’s car park and on North West Cambridge.

“We did a feasibility study for the introduction of electric charge points to see where would be most convenient locations for drivers, and these are also informed by where there is sufficient electrical infrastructure in place. They are quite a sophisticated service.”

The Government grant, if it is approved, would pay for the provision of 40 electric charge points, strictly for taxis, which means that the city council-funded charge points could become available for public use.

They would fund rapid charge points at £22,500 each and ‘semi-rapid’ charge points at £7,000 each.

The number of electric cars privately owned in Cambridge is steadily increasing, despite being one of few cities where private car ownership is decreasing.

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