Taxi charges are set to get a whole new meaning in Blackpool.
For the resort’s first electric taxi is now picking up passengers after being licensed by the council for a two-week trial.
If it proves a success, operator Premier Taxis hopes to introduce more of the vehicles into its fleet.
Blackpool is one of the first towns in the country to trial electric taxis.
The Nissan Leaf cab can travel around 110 miles before it needs recharging.As well as being more environmentally friendly, Premier Taxis director John Cutler says the new cars will cut fuel costs.
While drivers typically spend between £150 and £200 a week on fuel at the moment, it will only cost between £30 and £35 for electricity.
Currently, there are only a handful of charge points in Blackpool, but it is hoped more will be introduced as the drive towards more electric vehicles speeds up.
Mr Cutler said: “The Nissan Leaf will undergo trials over the next two weeks to determine whether the technology is feasible in the taxi working environment.
“If so, Premier has plans to introduce five or six in the near future, with more to follow.
“Discussions are to take place with Blackpool Council regarding provision of rapid charge points to be strategically positioned around the town to form a viable charging network.”
However, cheaper fuel costs will not mean a drop in cab fares, because vehicles cost around £20,000.
Mr Cutler said: “We already have the lowest fares in Blackpool and this means we can keep them at that level.”
Premier office manager Sabrina Webster said: “The drivers I have spoken to are really positive about this, and we’re looking forward to getting the reaction of the public.”
A battery made up of 192 cells makes the vehicle 100 per cent electric with zero emissions.
Range is around 110 miles.
Funds are being made available from government to pay for recharging sites, which would also be accessible for use by members of the public.
Rapid charge points ensure the vehicle is charged to 80 per cent capacity in 30 minutes.
With a £5,000 government grant, the cost of the car is around £20,000 but fuel costs are as low as 2p per mile with no road tax.
Energy used during braking puts power back into the battery.
Twenty electric mini-cabs were introduced in London in February.