A new fleet of 100% electric Nissan LEAF taxis has gone into service in Blackpool 130 years after the tourist resort introduced one of the world’s first electric tramways.
The 12-strong fleet of LEAFs has been introduced by local firm Premier Cabs and will operate in and around Blackpool and neighbouring Lytham St Annes on a 24-7 basis.
The company, which ordered the cars through leading North West Nissan dealer Chorley Group, expects to replace more of its 170-strong fleet with the British-built models and its sister vehicle, the e-NV200 Combi in the months ahead.
Each vehicle will cover up to 55,000 miles a year in the course of covering around 200 fares per week. They will be supported by a dedicated network of five rapid chargers that can charge the vehicles from zero to 80 percent in as little as half an hour.
The move will double the existing charging network in the Blackpool area. However, it is not clear wether these points will be available to the public.
With running costs from two pence per mile, the LEAFs will allow Premier Cabs to drastically reduce its biggest single expense – fuel. And these savings will be passed on to the drivers, who will take home between £80-£120 per week extra by driving a LEAF. This, in turn, will allow the company to tackle one of its biggest challenges – driver recruitment.
Managing Director, John Cutler, said: “We’ve done the maths and we know the LEAFs will save the business money but that wasn’t the main factor in our decision. We wanted to do something special for our customers and for the town and this really fits the bill.
“This gives Blackpool a fleet of clean, green and very comfortable taxis that passengers will love and the town can be proud of.”
The move to electric taxis has already been made by a few forward thinking companies. Last May, St Austell-based C&C Taxis clocked up 150,000 miles and more than 37,000 individual fares in its fleet of electric Nissan LEAF taxis.
In December, it also took delivery of one of the first all-electric Nissan e-NV200 Combi models to arrive in the UK.