Struggling against the burden of ever-increasing maintenance and motor insurance costs, taxi firms the world over are looking for more effective ways to save money.
Whilst some are choosing to implement new smartphone technology to their taxi services, others are now looking to introduce electric cars to their fleet.
Car manufacturer Nissan are one company benefiting from this, with its all-electric LEAF model increasingly being used as a taxi car, with its cheaper running costs comparing favourably to standard petrol and diesel vehicles.
World’s most successful electric vehicle
With the LEAF having already established itself as the world’s most successful electric vehicle, many European countries including the UK, Switzerland, Germany, Portugal and Spain are now using the car as taxi cab.
The LEAF has proven particularly popular in the Netherlands too, with Amsterdam-based company Taxi-E being amongst the LEAF’s biggest customers. With 13 Nissan LEAF’s now part of their fleet, the firm’s drivers have already covered 700,000 kms.
Ruud Zandvliet, one of the entrepreneurs behind Taxi-E, said: “Amsterdam has some 3,000 taxis, so while our fleet is helping to reduce emissions, there is obviously room to reduce these even further.”
With its reputation for being one of the world’s largest financial centres, Zurich, Switzerland’s largest city, is also due to obtain its own fleet of pure electric Nissan LEAF taxis in 2013 with a long-term plan of making 15% of its taxi fleet electric within the next two years.
Back in the UK, Phoenix Taxis, Northumberland’s largest taxi and private hire company, already utilises a Nissan LEAF as part of its fleet, having installed three EV charging points at its headquarters in Blyth.
Phoenix Taxis Managing Director, Alexander Hurst said: “The main cost to any taxi driver is fuel. With prices rocketing on a monthly basis, EVs are becoming the more sensible fleet vehicle cost.”
It’s not simply Europe benefiting from the presence of Nissan LEAF taxi cabs though. In many major cities around the world including New York, Rio de Janeiro and throughout Japan the LEAF models are helping cut pollution.
Jean-Pierre Diernaz, Director Electric Vehicles Europe, added: “There is little doubt that the Nissan LEAF is an ideal vehicle for taxi operators. It’s cheap to run and easy to maintain. It’s good to drive and passengers like the space and comfort.”
What do you feel about the move towards more electric taxi cabs? Do you welcome the progression in terms of eco-friendly driving and quieter engines on the roads or, as a passenger, would you prefer to simply reach your destination as quickly as possible?