TWO new rapid electric vehicle chargers have been installed in a central Cambridge car park to encourage more of the city’s taxi fleet to make the move to less polluting electric vehicles.
The rapid chargers, which can provide 80% charge to an electric taxi in just 30 minutes, have been installed on behalf of Cambridge City Council in Adam and Eve Car Park off East Road, using funds granted following a successful bid to the government’s Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV).
Funds, totalling £426,000 from OLEV, along with additional contributions of £100,000 each from the Greater Cambridge Partnership and the city council, will be used to install more than 20 rapid chargers in Cambridge and surrounding areas by 2020.
Six chargers will be installed by the end of September at three locations: Castle Hill car park, Arbury Court car park and an on-street location in Newmarket Road.
The project is part of the council’s emerging Air Quality Action Plan, which will set out priorities for improving areas of poor air quality and maintaining areas of good air quality over the next five years.
One of the Plan’s priorities, supported by this project, is to increase the number of electric taxis operating in the city.
In addition to installing new rapid charger points, changes to taxi licensing regulations and incentives for taxi operators have been introduced to encourage the shift from diesel vehicles to low or zero-emission alternatives.
Cllr Rosy Moore, Executive Councillor for Environment and City Centre, said: “Installing these new rapid chargers for electric taxis marks a genuinely positive shift away from polluting diesel taxis
“Work like this is one way the council is aiming to make it much easier for people to use electric vehicles, in order to help improve air quality for all of Cambridge’s residents plus all of those people who work in and visit the city.”
Peter Blake, Transport Director at Greater Cambridge Partnership, said: “More than 80% of Nitrogen Oxides emitted in central Cambridge are from vehicles, and we are working with our partners on a range of measures to clean up our air, which will also help to improve our quality of life.
“We have also commissioned research on the potential of a Clean Air Zone – an area of targeted action to improve air quality.”
Office for Low Emission Vehicles Minister, Jesse Norman MP, said: “Air pollution has improved significantly since 2010, but we recognise there is more to do, and we have specifically invested £14m in taxi charging infrastructure across the country since March 2017.
“Through its support for ultra-low emission taxis, Cambridge City Council is demonstrating what can be achieved locally to support the growth of the UK’s emerging low-carbon economy.”
The charge points are supplied, installed, run and maintained by eVolt a UK supplier with operational support from Electric Blue a company with considerable experience supporting electric taxis.