I’ve operated electric shuttle services. The operational cost is amazing, especially if you have free charging in your area. The time challenges can be not so amazing, due to the need to charge so much. Abundant and high-power charging stations can go a long way. They’re a base necessity. But one thing would be better than that — abundant wireless charging at parking spaces across the city.
The UK government sees the potential there. While this is far below what would be needed to support electric taxis and other electric vehicle drivers on a mass scale, the country is at least rolling into the concept with a £3.4 million investment in a 6 month wireless charging trial.
Technically, the £3.4 million is for a consortium to create such a trial. Cenex (Centre of Excellence for Low Carbon and Fuel Cell Technologies), Sprint Power, Shell, Nottingham City Council, ParkingEnergy, Transport for London, and Coventry University are the members of the consortium. “Innovate UK, a non-departmental public body funded by the UK government designed to drive research and development into new technologies, has backed the consortium to demonstrate the viability of wireless charging where a fleet of 10 modified LEVC TX and Nissan ENV200 electric taxis will use the technology in Nottingham,” electric hybrid and vehicle technology international relays to us. The vehicles will be owned by Nottingham City Council and provided for free to drivers.
Transportation consultation nonprofit Cenex is heading up the consortium trialing this. “Cenex is delighted to be leading a consortium that brings together the best of UK and global business with local government and universities to trial and test wireless charging technology on electric taxis,” Cenex CEO Robert Evans says.
“Cenex will use its expertise to support the development of an investment ready business case that puts the UK at the centre of low carbon vehicle revolution.”
“Charging technology, including wireless, is vital in giving consumers confidence to make the switch from petrol to electric cars,” Andrea Leadsom, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, said. “This pioneering trial in Nottingham, and others like it, will help us take crucial steps towards lower emissions and cleaner air.”
Councillor Longford, Deputy Leader at Nottingham City Council, added: “Nottingham is excited to host the trial of this new type of innovative charging technology, keeping us ahead of the pack, and helping to promote cleaner taxis in our city and potentially take us a further step forward towards our goal of being carbon neutral by 2028.”
This is just one way the UK government is investing in electric taxis and stimulating their rise. Here are some other support mechanisms:
- £50 million grant fund to provide drivers up to £7,500 off the price of a new, eligible, purpose-built taxi.
- £20 million provided to 27 local authorities to install electric taxi chargepoints across England & Scotland.
- zero-emission taxis exempt from higher rate of vehicle excise duty.
- £40 million funding for development of electric vehicle charging technologies that could rapidly expand the UK chargepoint network for people without off-street parking.
Cenex Head of Business Development Keith Budden also responded yesterday to the news of the UK moving its petrol (gas) and diesel car ban to 2035 from 2040. His full response follows and helps to provide context on how quickly this industry can change:
“The 2035 target date for the ending of the sale of non-zero emission cars and vans might seem a huge challenge to accomplish in the next 15 years, but we’ve come a long way in the last 15 years to date.
“Cenex was set up fifteen years ago to help the UK lead the transition to zero emission mobility when it seemed like a pipedream. There were no electric vehicles and no chargepoints, but with clear leadership, strong polices and the right support significant change was possible and will be again to achieve the 2035 target.
“We know that it won’t be easy but we know how to support the transition, and we know how beneficial it will be for the UKs economy, society and environment, by improving the air quality and our health, and tackling the climate emergency.
“A lot can be delivered in fifteen years however we need to see more investment in infrastructure, in support for business and fleets and we also need to see more investment in zero emission public transport and mobility services.
“We need to achieve this not just for the economy but for all our futures.”
Check out more history on wireless EV charging for more on this specific EV topic.
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