Are Electric Taxis – Coming To Bournemouth Soon?
(And What Do They Mean For Taxi Insurance Quotes?)
Taxis and private hire vehicles play a vital role in keeping Bournemouth and Poole moving. As with other student and tourist destinations they form an essential part of our town’s transport infrastructure.
Unfortunately, they are also a contributor to serious threat to many Bournemouth residents’ health. In the Bournemouth area over 50,000 residents are living with dangerous levels of air pollution according to a recent study by the environmental cities network UK100 and the town is ranked 5th for the worst air quality in the whole of the south west of England. Our poor air quality is closely linked to our traffic levels and the hundreds of diesel taxis that ply their trade on our roads on daily basis are becoming a problem.
Could things though could be about to change for the better as the electric car revolution comes in and electric taxis become common sights? If they do come in what are the pros and cons for drivers and passengers? What are the implications for taxi insurance quotes? And is the idea of a fleet of electric cabs realistic or does it remain the stuff of environmentalists’ dreams?
In this latest blog from Coversure Poole – Bournemouth’s leading providers of cheap taxi insurance – we’ll consider all of this and look forward to a cleaner, greener town that gives Bournemouth’s cabbies a sustainable future.
Electric Cabs – The Pros…
There are a wide range of potential advantages to moving to electric cabs, and as we shall see these advantages apply to cab drivers and the wider population of Bournemouth.
• Lower Running Costs – when you have been providing cabbies with cheap taxi insurance as long as we have, you learn that keeping costs down is really important. Electric cars have running costs of between 2-4p per mile compared to 10-12p for an equivalent diesel or petrol car. With the average UK cabbie doing around 150 miles per day (outside of London) according to the Department of Transport, the savings quickly mount up
• Diesels are doomed – diesels have been the mainstay of the taxi business since they first came to the market. They are also doomed. The government has already pledged to end diesel production by 2040 – and many are pushing for somewhere closer to 2015 – and major manufacturers like Volvo have already decided to consign diesels to the scrapyard of history. Drivers sooner or later will have to make the switch, so why not do it sooner rather than later?
• Continued access to the town centre – we have looked at whether Bournemouth needs a Clean Air Zone in order to clean up its act, and it is something the council may be considering. If it – or some other charging system such as London, Birmingham, Glasgow and Oxford are going for – then entering it could prove expensive or even prohibited. Electric and other ultra-low emission vehicles (ULEVs) are either exempt or attract significant discounts. London’s Ultra-Emission Zone charges taxis a whopping £12.50 to enter it, and that’s on top of the Congestion Charge. Ouch!
• Lower Vehicle Excise Duty – in their quest for cleaner air (and perhaps greater tax revenues) the government has been offering lower duties on cleaner vehicles while threatening to remove the duty freeze we have enjoyed in recent years. If cab drivers want to cut their costs, then a electric vehicle could be a shrewd investment
• Taxi insurance – the cost of taxi insurance cover has been a big part of the electric vehicle debate. More and more insurers are developing policies and we’re told – given the relative simplicity of their motors and their increased reliability – that taxi insurance quotes for electric cabs should soon prove cheaper
• More customers? – members of the public are also playing a big part in the move to greener transport. Clean air is considered by most as a right, and with the media reporting stories surrounding the estimated 40,000 UK deaths caused by pollution each and it’s easy to see why people are worried. One of London’s leading independent taxi firms, Fulham Cabs, decided to start moving their 100+ strong fleet to electric vehicles last year saying their decision was informed by ‘strong customer demand’. Given the choice of a diesel or electric provider, customers may well choose the cleaner, greener option.
Electric Cabs – The Cons…
Alas as with any emerging technology, there are issues with making the switch to electrically powered vehicles. Many of these will, we expect, fade over time, but as it stands the following need to be overcome.
• Cost of vehicles – while there are significant savings to be made in terms of cost per mile, these are offset by the cost of these vehicles. Across the board electric vehicles are more expensive to buy. For example, a new VW Golf diesel costs around £23,000, whereas the e-Golf starts at £28,000. And if you are looking for a black cab, LVEC’s TX will cost you around £60,000 as opposed to £45,000 for a traditional one
• Range – the best pure electric vehicles will manage around 250 miles on a single charge. This is a massive increase on just a few years ago when going 100 miles was an achievement. For urban-only cabbies this is fine, but in a rural county like Dorset those miles could easily get eaten up and, as our next point makes clear, charging up isn’t as easy as filling up
• Charging points – at the time of writing there are around 16 charging points in Bournemouth. This means you’ll need to plan your route a little more carefully as you can’t exactly use a jerry can to top it up at the side of the road. Charging times are also an issue. The very fastest take 30 minutes – though these are mainly expensive Teslas on Supercharger points – while most take between 4-12 hours. Time is money when you’re a cab driver and having to wait this long could be too costly
• Repair cost – while they are simpler to repair, most independent garages won’t have the know-how or the equipment to service and repair them. That means you’ll be forced to go a dealership or other specialist and that could prove expensive
Are Electric Taxis Coming To Bournemouth?
The weight of evidence is starting to become overwhelming, the electric taxi has to be the future. It will take time to see older, dirtier petrol and diesels leave our roads, but this will happen. With manufacturers including Ford, Volkswagen, Volvo, Kia, Vauxhall and Honda investing billions in electric vehicles of all shapes and sizes, diesels under fierce attack from the public and the tax man and with our need to clean up our air, it’s looking like electricity is the way forward.
How long this revolution will take to complete is debatable. Deals such as BP buying Chargemaster and pledging to put charging points on its forecourts will speed it up, as will new models with greater range and lower prices. At some point Bournemouth’s council will need to/be forced to clean up its air act and public demand will also help drive this revolution forward.
Like Some Taxi Insurance Help?
If you’d like to know more about saving on your taxi insurance, then please feel to get in touch. You can call us on Poole (01202) 801 782, or if you’d like to get a taxi insurance quote then please click here now.