A six-month trial of wireless charging technology for electric taxis in Nottingham has been announced by the Government.
The Department for Transport (DfT) says that the £3.4 million scheme could pave the way for a revolution in electric vehicle (EV) charging.
Wireless charging at taxi ranks could provide an alternative to plugs and charge points, meaning multiple taxis can recharge at once, it says, while also reducing clutter on streets.
Furthermore, the time taken to charge an EV could reduce a taxi driver’s earning potential. However, installing wireless chargers at taxi ranks offers drivers the chance to recharge while waiting for their next passengers.
The DfT hopes that if the trial is successful wireless charging could be rolled out more broadly for public use.
The technology, allowing for shorter and more frequent bursts of charging, would also benefit cars with smaller batteries, ending ‘range anxiety’ for drivers.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “Taxi drivers up and down the country are at the vanguard of the electric vehicle revolution, playing a leading role in reducing air pollution in our city centres where people live, shop and work.
“New wireless technology will make using an electric taxi quicker and more convenient, allowing drivers to charge up at taxi ranks before heading off with their next passenger.”
In all, 10 Nissan and LEVC electric taxis in Nottingham will be fitted with wireless charging hardware for six months to trial taxi rank-based charging.
Cenex, Sprint Power, Shell, Nottingham City Council, Parking Energy, Transport for London and Coventry University are all involved in the project.
Nottingham City Council will own the vehicles and provide them to drivers rent free.
Councillor Sally Longford, deputy leader at Nottingham City Council, said: “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.”
The Government said that electric taxi drivers have already benefited from a range of measures including the exemption of zero-emission taxis from the higher rate of vehicle excise duty (VED) and £20m funding for 27 local authorities to install electric taxi charge points across England and Scotland.
The Government is also offering a £50m grant fund that provides drivers with up to £7,500 off the price of a new, eligible, purpose-built taxi.
Andrea Leadsom, secretary of state for business, energy and industrial strategy, concluded: “Charging technology, including wireless, is vital in giving consumers confidence to make the switch from petrol to electric cars. This pioneering trial in Nottingham, and others like it, will help us take crucial steps towards lower emissions and cleaner air.
“We are determined to end our contribution to global warming entirely by 2050 - and delivering cleaner and greener transport systems is a key part of this.”