A Scottish firm will boast the UK’s largest fleet of electric taxis when it trebles its number of vehicles to 100 this summer, The Scotsman has learned.
Dundee operator 203020 has been a pioneer in using plug-in cars since introducing them a year ago, which has attracted interest from dozens of other taxi companies.
Chief executive David Young said his taxi fleet would be all-electric in a year’s time, and two of its rapid chargers were already the busiest in the UK.
The moves come as Dundee competes with seven English cities to become the UK’s electric taxi capital and win a share of £20 million development funding.
The UK government is due to announce the winner in April.
203020 already has 30 Nissan Leaf electric vehicles, which have clocked up nearly one million miles – or around 33,000 miles each.
Another ten are on order, with the total increasing to 100 by August.
Among other firms with the largest number of electric vehicles, Phoenix in Blackpool has 34 taxis and minibuses. There are also major operators in London, Northumberland and Cornwall, with eCorporate Travel in Edinburgh having six Nissan Leafs.
Mr Young said his electric taxi expansion was underpinned by Evolt charging points supplied by APT Controls. He has five 50kW Tri-Rapid chargers which can charge a vehicle in 30 minutes, and ten 7kW chargers for quick “top-ups”. Each of the rapid chargers is used between 17 and 21 times a day.
Friends of the Earth Scotland air pollution campaigner Emilia Hanna said: “Toxic air pollution, caused mainly by traffic fumes, is responsible for over 60 early deaths in Dundee every year.
“The whole of the city remains a designated pollution zone, with levels of nitrogen dioxide breaking safety standards due to have been met over a decade ago.
“Electric vehicles have an important role to play in tackling air pollution.”
Neil Greig, of the Institute of Advanced Motorists, said: “I can’t think of a tougher trial than the life of a taxi in Dundee. If such electric vehicles can prove themselves 100 per cent reliable, then that would be an excellent example for all drivers.”