There are many myths surrounding electric cars. One is that electric cars aren’t suitable for life outside of the big city. Another suggests that electric cars aren’t useful for fleets which cover high numbers of miles per year, like delivery firms and taxi cabs.
Cornish taxi firm C&C Taxis proves both those notions wrong. Based in the beautiful Cornish countryside in the South West of the UK, C&C Taxis was the first taxi cab operator in the UK to add an all-electric Nissan LEAF hatchback to its fleet a year ago.
With a DC rapid charge station located at the company headquarters, the firm, which operates in and around St. Austell, soon found the LEAF was a perfect fit for the majority of its fares. While the company initially started with just one electric LEAF in its fleet of ten cars, today it has five — and plans to add Nissan’s all-electric e-NV200 Evalia minivan to its expanding electric vehicle fleet when the minivan goes on sale later this year.
In the past twelve months, its fleet of LEAFs have clocked up more than 150,000 miles, carrying more than 37,000 individual fares in and around the Cornish hills.
“When we took our first LEAF a year ago we could never have imagined how successful it would have been,” said Michelle Willaims, owner of C&C Taxis. “The fact we now have five and have hit the 150,000-mile mark says it all. Investing in the LEAF has probably been the best decision we’ve ever made as a company.”
Compared to its previous vehicles, Williams says the company has saved in excess of £40,000 from its fleet-wide fuel bill. At an estimated cost of two pence per mile, C&C Taxis has the lowest running cost of any taxi company for miles around.
Yet it isn’t just the financial benefits of operating plug-in cars as taxi cabs which have prompted C&C Taxis to slowly add more LEAFs to its fleet. Customers prefer them too. In the case of local hotels looking for transportation for its guests, the LEAF wins every time.
“Our customer love them and most of the big hotels in the area now use us as their taxi company of choice, which has been a real coup,” Williams said. “In fact, many of the hotels ask guests who book a taxi whether they’d like and electric one and then specifically ask for a LEAF.”
Although the C&C Taxi fleet is now primarily made of electric cars, Williams admits that t hey still keep a couple of diesel-powered cars on hand for longer fares beyond the range of the LEAF’s 24 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack. But, says Williams, the lions’ share of fares go to its electric cars.
“Most of our business is done in and around St. Austell, but we use the LEAFs for fares up to 40 miles away all the time. They can easily get there and back and all the driver needs to do is give [the car] a quick charge when he’s back in town.”
It’s that capability, combined with a rapid charger which operates from 7am through to midnight, topping up the fleet’s battery packs throughout the day, that has made C&C Taxis’ transition to electric cars even possible.
But with more than 40 fares per car per day, we think it’s impossible to now claim that electric cars can’t survive as taxi cabs. Don’t you agree?
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