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Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Electric taxis to go wireless thanks to new Nottingham charging tech trial

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The UK could soon see a revolution in electric vehicle charging after the Transport Secretary announced today (17 January 2020) that £3.4 million will be invested in trials for wireless charging of electric taxis in Nottingham.

Wireless charging at taxi ranks could provide an alternative to plugs and chargepoints, meaning multiple taxis can recharge at once, supporting drivers to charge up more easily. It would also reduce clutter on our streets.

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As more and more people make the switch to electric cars this new technology could also be rolled out more broadly for public use, helping everyday drivers of electric vehicles charge more easily on the go.

Electrifying taxi fleets in congested city areas is crucial in bringing down transport emissions and cleaning up our air. However, the time taken to charge could reduce a taxi driver’s earning potential.

Installing wireless chargers at taxi ranks offers drivers the chance to recharge while waiting for their next passengers, so they can help the environment and start their journeys quicker. The technology, allowing for shorter and more frequent bursts of charging, will also benefit cars with smaller batteries, ending ‘range anxiety’ for drivers.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said:

‘Taxi drivers up and down the country are at the vanguard of the electric vehicle revolution, playing a leading role in reducing air pollution in our city centres where people live, shop and work.

‘New wireless technology will make using an electric taxi quicker and more convenient, allowing drivers to charge up at taxi ranks before heading off with their next passenger.’

Andrea Leadsom, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said:

‘Charging technology, including wireless, is vital in giving consumers confidence to make the switch from petrol to electric cars. This pioneering trial in Nottingham, and others like it, will help us take crucial steps towards lower emissions and cleaner air.

‘We are determined to end our contribution to global warming entirely by 2050 – and delivering cleaner and greener transport systems is a key part of this.’

Councillor Longford, Deputy Leader at Nottingham City Council said:

‘Nottingham is excited to host the trial of this new type of innovative charging technology, keeping us ahead of the pack, and helping to promote cleaner taxis in our city and potentially take us a further step forward towards our goal of being carbon neutral by 2028.’

Ten Nissan and LEVC electric taxis in Nottingham will be fitted with wireless charging hardware for 6 months to trial taxi rank-based charging. The project, a collaboration between organisations 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 centres.

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 every day drivers of electric vehicles charge more easily on the go.

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 chargepoints 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.

Today’s announcement of the trial follows nearly £40 million funding announced in July 2019 for the development of electric vehicle charging technologies that could rapidly expand the UK chargepoint network for people without off-street parking.

Innovations which have already received investment include underground charging systems that don’t require on-street structures, suitable for busy urban streets, and solar powered charging.

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