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We’re going electric!

Hart Taxis is proud to be on the cutting edge of technology. We were the first company in the area to have a dedicated web-site for our business. We were the first company to install the industry-leading Cordic dispatch software. We were the first in the area to install OLIVIAR – our telephone-based booking agent allowing bookings to be made purely through your telephone touchpad.

Now we’re doing it again.

Hart Taxis has recently taken delivery of the area’s first all electric private hire vehicle (EV). We have purchased a new model Nissan Leaf (pictured).

Earlier versions of this vehicle have been used by other taxi companies in places such as Cornwall where they racked up over 170,000 fault free and emission free miles.

For our customers the benefits are several:

  • The vehicle is much quieter than any of our other vehicles – especially the diesel-engined cars we run. For longer runs this can be very relaxing.
  • The car runs a lot smoother than our other vehicles. There is no lurching as the gears are changed because this car has no gears.
  • The acceleration is higher and quicker. With electric cars accelerating instantly from a standing start they can overtake with less worry. Petrol and diesel cars need time for the engine to hit the power band and start to pull.
  • For trips to Central London during the day this vehicle will not incur the additional congestion charge that the customer usually pays

For the drivers the benefits are numerous:

  • Lower running costs. Electric cars are, on average, about 1/3rd as cheap to run as petrol or diesel cars. Servicing costs are commensurately lower as there are 90% fewer moving parts in an EV.
  • Higher up-time : With fewer parts to go wrong on an electric vehicle the servicing intervals are longer and the service itself is much quicker. The vehicle spends less time off the road.
  • Road tax is zero.
  • Congestion charge is zero.
  • No queues at petrol stations to fill up in busy times.
  • Charging during the day can take place while drivers eat lunch/ grab a coffee or wait for customers at the airport.
  • Will be fully recharged at home every night to be full the following morning.
  • Vehicles can be set to pre-heat on cold days to be warm and have clear windows before the driver starts work. The driver can sit in his house while this occurs.

For the environment the benefits are great:

  • No CO2 emissions. We use chargers which are powered by renewable energy so the carbon footprint is much, much lower than with fossil fuel vehicles.
  • No NOx emissions. Harmful particulates which have been shown to affect school childrens’ health are non-existent with an electric car.
  • On cold days the vehicle can sit on the rank with the heating on without kicking out CO2 and NOx unlike current diesel and petrol cars which need the engine running to warm the car.
  • Once the vehicle reaches the end of its life the batteries are removed and used to store power from solar panels for use at night. When the batteries are no longer viable they are recycled and the Lithium Ion is used in newer batteries.

But we know you’re going to have questions. So let’s see if we can address them:

  1. Will the car run out of electricity when I am in it? There’s is as much chance of this vehicle running out of electricity as there is of a regular vehicle running out of petrol or diesel. There are charges locally around Fleet/ Farnborough that we can use to charge up and the vehicle will always start with a full charge every morning giving a conservative 120-140 mile range depending on the outside temperature. For drivers going to Heathrow and Gatwick there are chargers in the car parks there that will recharge the car while they wait for your flight to arrive.
  2. Can they run in the rain? Absolutely. The batteries are fully contained in a sealed unit. The vehicle can even run through flood water without an issue.
  3. Can it do long runs? Yes. The stated range on this vehicle is 150 miles. At average road speeds this is somewhere in the region of 3 hours of driving. Our drivers would never do a drive as long as that without taking some sort of a break. As a result it is the driver range which is the limiting factor here not the battery range. We can easily use this vehicle to do runs to Gatwick, Luton, Southampton and Stansted Airports. For journeys longer than that we would expect the driver to stop anyway. The vehicle would recharge during the stop.
  4. Can I specify that I want the electric car for my journey? Absolutely! While the EV will not be on the road all the time, when it is on shift you can request that we send that vehicle to pick you up. If it is available and not pre-allocated to another customer we will certainly send it to you. Over the coming months we expect to replace more and more of our old diesel vehicles with EVs to increase the pool of available cars.
  5. Will it cost more to use the EV? No. Our fares will be no more for the electric vehicle than they will be for any of our other cars. In fact we may even offer a small discount for customers who request the EV instead of the regular car.
  6. Will I have to wait for it to recharge? No. Unless you are going on a really long journey with us (in excess of 150 miles) the vehicle will not be dispatched to you unless the driver has had an opportunity to charge it up. Charging this vehicle takes between 15 and 45 minutes depending on how much of the battery needs to be filled. The driver will ensure this has been done prior to arriving at your door.

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