Oxford City Council has announced a new £5,000 grant for licenced drivers of Hackney Carriages or black cabs to transition to an electric vehicle. The £5,000 grant is now available as a grant contribution towards the costs of purchasing a new ultra-low emission taxi.
The grant has come through the ‘Energy Superhub Oxford’ project, with the funding part of the city’s ‘Zero Emission Zone Pilot’. Oxford City Council says this will provide funding for up to 17 Hackney Carriage taxis to move to electric.
There are currently seven electric taxis in Oxford, five Hackney Carriage, and two private hires. Uptake is expected to increase with the introduction of the Zero Emission Zone Pilot (ZEZ). Oxford had approved the pilot to start this August, making it the first city in the UK to introduce a ZEZ, but now says it is to start “later this year”. The trial will see all but electric vehicles banned from the town centre during the day. Those driving polluting vehicles into the ZEZ will be charged, making switching increasingly worthwhile.
To make it easier, the Council has also reduced the cost of its Try Before You Buy scheme, which was previously £150 per week and is currently free of charge. The new rules allow for 100 weeks of trials to take place on a first-come-first-served basis.
As eligible e-taxis, the Council specifies the TX from LEVC based near Coventry and Nissan’s all-electric Dynamo. However, only LEVC is listed as adding a contribution grant to the Council funding. Both grants are on top of the Government Plug-in-Grant for taxis so that cab drivers can save around £12,200 (22%) on the cost of a new TX electric taxi costing £55,600, or an all-electric Nissan Dynamo costing £55,495.
Through the scheme, the Council will also waive vehicle licence fees and certificate of compliance test fees incurred up to and ending on 31st March 2024 to the first ten applicants opting to go electric. Hackney Carriage drivers interested in the funding or would like to find out more should email AirQuality@oxford.gov.uk.