A fleet of 30 pure-electric Nissan Leafs has been launched in the city of Dundee.
The vehicles, operated by 203020 Electric – part of the Tele Taxis Group – are now in 24-7 service.
Derek Mackay MSP, the Scottish Government’s Minister for transport and the islands, took the first journey around City Square.
He was joined at an official launch event by executives from Transport Scotland, the Energy Saving Trust, Dundee City Council and Nissan – organisations that have all invested and advised on the project.
Welcoming the vehicles into service, Mackay said: “The Scottish Government is committed to improving air quality in our towns and cities – that is why we have been delighted to support this ambitious project as part of our overall investment of £17 million in a range of low carbon vehicles initiatives over the past two years.
“Bold initiatives such as this offer a visible demonstration that this transformation is already happening and I am delighted to be able to experience these vehicles at first hand by taking a ride in one today.
“A journey in one of these taxis may well be the first encounter many members of the public will have with an electric vehicle, helping to raise awareness that there are viable alternatives to petrol and diesel cars.
“In addition to the environmental benefits and fuel savings, the smoothness and quietness of a ride in these taxis will undoubtedly be appreciated by drivers and passengers alike.”
Tele Taxis / 203020 Electric plans to replace its entire 60-vehicle fleet with more Nissan Leafs and the larger Nissan e-NV200 Combi over the next 12 months.
A bank of five rapid chargers has been installed at the taxi company’s HQ in Isla Street to keep the new fleet topped up and in constant service around the clock. The chargers, funded by Transport Scotland’s ChargePlace Scotland project, are all available for public use and currently free to charge from.
David Young, owner of 203020 Electric, said: “There are big financial benefits to operating a fleet of electric taxis but that is not the main driver behind our decision to go down this route.
“Dundee is a city with some of the worst air pollution in the country and this initiative puts us at the forefront of efforts to improve that.
“The environmental benefits of running these pure electric vehicles will make a real difference for the people of Dundee.”
Will Dawson, convener of Dundee City Council's city development committee said: "Every time anyone in the city chooses to use an electric taxi instead of a conventionally powered vehicle they will know they are making an active contribution to the city's economy by supporting local innovative thinking.
"This initiative will make a difference to the quality of air for the people of Dundee by reducing the amount of carbon dioxide compared with what would be generated by a taxi powered by a petrol or diesel engine."