Electric Taxis Test New Charging Technology

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The U.K.’s transport secretary says £3.4 million ($4.42 million) will be invested in trials for wireless charging of electric taxis in Nottingham.

Ten Nissan and LEVC electric taxis will be fitted with wireless charging hardware for six months to test the wireless taxi rank-based charging. The project, a collaboration between organizations including Cenex, Sprint Power, Shell, Nottingham City Council, Parking Energy, Transport for London and Coventry University could speed up charging and help reduce congestion in city centers.

“Taxi drivers up and down the country are at the vanguard of the electric vehicle revolution.  The drivers are reducing air pollution in our city centers where people live, shop and work,” says Grant Shapps, U.K.’s transport secretary.

Wireless charging at taxi ranks could provide an alternative to plugs and charge points, allowing multiple taxis to recharge at once. Electrifying taxi fleets in congested city areas is crucial in bringing down transport emissions, reducing clutter on the streets and cleaning up the air. However, the time taken to charge could reduce a taxi driver’s earning potential.

Electric taxi drivers have already benefited from measures including the exemption of zero-emission taxis from the higher rate of vehicle excise duty and £20 million for 27 local authorities to install electric taxi charge points across England and Scotland. The government is also offering a £50 million grant fund that provides drivers with up to £7,500 off the price of a new, eligible, purpose-built taxi.

Nottingham City Council will own the vehicles and provide them to drivers rent-free. If successful, this technology could also be rolled out more broadly for public use, helping EV drivers charge more easily on the go.

More information about the trial can be found here.

Photo: An electric taxi

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