Taxi operators in North Kesteven unready to switch to alternative fuel

A lack of charging points and unaffordable prices are putting off taxi drivers from going green.

The lack of available charging points for electric vehicles was a deterrent for Lincolnshire taxi operators currently.
The lack of available charging points for electric vehicles was a deterrent for Lincolnshire taxi operators currently.

Several firms in North Kesteven have been asked if they were considering switching to alternative fuel vehicles, such as electric or hybrid.

However, they all consider the options to be too expensive, and say it is currently impractical in rural Lincolnshire.

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The district council report to North Kesteven’s General Licensing Committee meeting on June 15 says a lack of interest means it will have to revisit the topic in the future.

One driver said she wouldn’t be switching any time soon as “the cost of purchasing an Alternative Fuel Vehicle would take years to pay back, and this would not be financially viable”.

“The cost of electricty is going sky high, so the long-term benefits are shrinking.”

Batteries for electric vehicles cost about £4,000 and need to be replaced every 100,000 miles.

She was also concerned about a lack of garages who knew how to repair them, and available batteries.

“I have seen some drivers in other parts of the country off the road for weeks due to no batteries in the country,” she told North Kesteven District Council in the consultation.

Another taxi owner said he had done plenty of research, including test driving several electric vehicles, but claimed: “The driving range advertised by manufacturers is difficult to achieve in real world conditions.”

The range of such vehicles, especially for those engaged in longer airport or cruise port work, was said not to be satisfactory.

He also found alternative fuel vehicles tended to be smaller, and did not have the luggage or foot space passengers wanted.

“For myself, who tends to do longer journeys with larger numbers of passengers, there isn’t an AFV on the market yet that would meet my needs. However, it might make more sense for a private hire or hackney operator who specialised in more local trips,” he said.

The lack of charging points spaced across Lincolnshire was another common complaint, particularly in rural areas.

There were calls for taxi-only charging points to be put in to deal with over-subscription.

The council report stated that taxi firms would look again at AFVs when they feel more confident that they will benefit their business models, or alternatively should any funding become available to support purchase.