Cities across Europe are going through a quiet revolution as taxi companies start to shift from conventional diesel-powered cabs to zero-emission – and near-silent – Nissan LEAF taxis.
The world’s best-selling electric vehicle (EV) is fast becoming the taxi drivers’ favourite too; attracted by lower running costs and fuelled by a desire to reduce airborne pollution in city centres.
Two years after the ground-breaking EV went on sale in Europe, Nissan LEAF taxis are now operating in Holland, Switzerland, Germany, Portugal, Spain and the UK. And more are on the way!
One of the strongest advocates of the Nissan LEAF as a taxi is Amsterdam-based Taxi-E company. With a fleet of 13 Nissan LEAF’s, the firms’ drivers have covered over 700,000 kms – that’s further than the distance of the earth to the moon.
The cars are quick-charged two or three times a day using 100 per cent green energy, meaning they’re always ready for passengers.
One of the entrepreneurs behind Taxi-E, Ruud Zandvliet, 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.”
The Nissan LEAF is also a hit with European taxi owner-drivers where running costs, fuel bills and maintenance down time are critical to their success. These road warriors are fast-becoming EV advocates showing colleagues the benefits of making the switch from diesel to electric. In the UK, Phoenix Taxis runs a Nissan LEAF as part of its fleet and has installed three EV charging points at its headquarters.
“LEAF is incredibly luxurious and taxi drivers – notoriously unhappy with change – love the way LEAF drives. The gadgets available via the steering wheel also help make drivers’ lives easier. With real-time savings of £5,000 (€5,900) a year in fuel, we’re expanding our fleet and will have 15 LEAFs on the road by summer 2014.”