Bristol’s free electric van loan scheme expands to taxis

The West of England city’s programme to help more individuals and organisations understand the benefits of low-emission, non-combustion business vehicles now includes Hackney Carriages.

Bristol’s free electric van loan scheme, which helps commercial drivers in the city make the switch to cleaner vehicles, has branched out to now lend Hackney Carriage taxi drivers new models following the successful uptake of the initiative, which launched in March. 

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The £3.2m programme offers interested organisations and individuals a chance to try out electric vehicles (EV) for work for two-months to get used to how they work. Funded by National Highways, the fleet currently has 12 vehicles available for loan, soon to be increased to 27, with cash available for a maximum of 64. As of September, two of the vehicles will be purpose-built electric TX taxis from the London Electric Vehicle Company. 

 ‘I’m pleased to see our free electric van trial scheme has been hugely popular since its launch only a few months ago,’ said Cllr Don Alexander, Cabinet Member for Transport. ‘More than 60 organisations have tested a van or car so far and had the chance to see what it’s like to rely on electric: exploring things like battery range, charging point access and the cost of keeping these vehicles on the road. 

‘Many have told us the free loan has made them accelerate their plans to add EVs to their existing fleets,’ he continued. ‘Taxis are an important part of our transport infrastructure in Bristol, so we’re pleased to extend the free EV hire scheme to our licensed Hackney Carriage drivers. Getting a sense for the smooth ride and price of charging will present local drivers with a cleaner vehicle choice and the opportunity to help us reduce toxic air pollution which is so harmful to our health.’ 

In July, the Mayor of Bristol confirmed the city’s Clean Air Zone will begin operating from 28th November. 


Image: The Blowup


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