BROMSGROVE has been awarded £300,000 to install ten charge points for electric taxis across the district.
The cash has come from a pot of £6million Government funding which has been split among 17 local authorities across the UK.
The ultra-low emission taxis which will use the charge points will improve air quality in town and city centres.
Bromsgrove District already has two ultra-low emission vehicles (ULEV) as part of its licensed taxi fleet and it is now hoped these chargers will help more drivers make the change to the electric vehicles.
The bid for the funding was made after consultation with drivers and operators who highlighted the lack of rapid charging points available.
Sites for charge points include the town centre, Rubery and Wythall.
The move has been welcomed by the driver of Bromsgrove’s first electric taxi Manos Passaris.
Manos, who has had had his Nissan Leaf for four years, said he used to pay £7,000-a-year in fuel but now it is £700.
“It’s great news – we didn’t expect to get so much money or so quickly.
“It’s always been as passion of mine since I was younger – I always asked why they could not make more electric cars – now we have the technology.”
He praised Elon Musk from Tesla for the great strides towards electric cars, adding his current car was as good as any he had ever driven, including Mercedes, Volkswagens and BMWs.
“It only costs me £90-a-year to service and the cost of tyres when they need changing whereas before my car could be in the garage for a couple of days and I would lose work waiting for it.”
He added he also wanted to do something for his grandchildren, saying everyone had to ‘do their bit’.
We asked Manos whether the overheads savings would be passed onto passengers through cheaper fares.
But Manos said: “It does not really work like that as you can get a normal car for about £10,000 but the cost of electric cars are £30,000 upwards.”
The Bromsgrove District Council’s Portfolio Holder for the Environment, Coun Margaret Sherrey, said the funding was part of the Government’s support for ultra-low emission taxis right across the country and furthered its ambition for zero emissions by 2040.
“I am absolutely delighted that we have secured this money as this will support air quality standards in our urban areas.”
Coun Karen May, Deputy Leader and Portfolio-holder for Economic Development, said: “This news will bring economic stability and growth for an important form of transport for the District, including improving access to rural areas.
“We will be using this opportunity to look at expanding charge points for general public use.”
Richard Harrington, Automotive Minister, said the UK had led the world in cutting emissions whilst maintaining growth in the economy.
“These new charge points for greener taxis will help accelerate a cleaner environment for people across the UK.”
He added the £6million would support almost 4,000 ultra low emission vehicles across the country and was a further sign the UK was making real progress in the transition to greener transport.
The innovative technology gives vehicles a long range of more than 300 miles and there is fast fuelling available which takes between three and five minutes.