Licenced taxi drivers in Solihull were invited along to the Council’s Moat Lane depot this morning to find out more about converting their old diesel cabs into zero emission electric vehicles.
Nearly 40% of all carbon emissions in Solihull are currently attributed to road traffic.
As part of an information raising event organised by Solihull Council and Clipper Automotive, taxi drivers were given the chance to test-drive a fully electric cab while discovering how it’s now possible to upgrade their own older polluting vehicles.
Clipper Automotive is a UK-based company which specialises in electric taxis. They primarily focus on upgrading the iconic TX4 black cab by swapping out the standard diesel engine for an electric motor and battery so that it can run 100% electric and emission-free. Showcasing one of these converted cabs at the event, drivers were given the opportunity to find out more about how the conversion works and what’s involved in making the switch.
The reuse of existing equipment means that these conversions can offer a cost effective alternative to replacing older cabs with a brand new vehicle, which in turn can deliver even further carbon savings.
Solihull Council produced its own Electric Vehicle (EV) Strategy in 2020 which seeks to help address some of the current barriers to EV adoption while supporting the widespread transition to electric vehicles across the borough.
Cllr Andy Mackiewicz, Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Climate Change, Planning & Housing:
“We know that transport currently accounts for 39% of the borough’s total carbon emissions. It’s clear that a range of solutions are going to be needed if we are to tackle this problem and meet our net zero carbon aspirations for the borough by 2041.
“Converting petrol or diesel vehicles offers drivers a cost effective way of keeping existing vehicles on the road for longer while reducing their emissions to zero, which feels like a win win.
“Helping to remove barriers and encourage wider take up of EVs is the key objective of our EV strategy. Of course we can’t make this happen by ourselves but there are key actions that we can, and are, taking as a Council that can make a real difference, such as facilitating the roll out of EV charging infrastructure, upgrading our own fleet of vehicles and supporting taxis and private hire vehicle owners to do the same. We are also looking how we can help change people’s perceptions of electric vehicles and what support we can give through local planning and regulations.”
Cllr James Butler, Chair of the licensing committee:
“Taxi and private hire vehicles play a key role in our borough’s transport network. This kind of conversion offers a low-cost, low-risk solution for existing taxi drivers looking to switch to EV, while helping to provide us all with cleaner air and reduced carbon emissions. There is huge potential for the use of converted taxis across the borough and we will work with the trade to adapt our policies accordingly.”
Alex Howard, Co-founder Clipper Automotive:
“It was great to be in Solihull this morning talking to local taxi drivers.
"The cabs are a great example of the circular economy in action. By up-cycling diesel cabs we instantly remove pollution from town centres, and minimise carbon footprint.
“We are giving taxi owners and drivers a real option: zero emissions, and fuel savings of over £100 a week. A taxi that is fit for purpose and fit for the 21st century. We think it’s a win win for everyone.”
Solihull’s EV strategy forms part of the wider West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) funded UK Central investment programme, which is delivering a wide range of projects, including highway, walking and cycling improvement schemes and town centre redevelopments.