Cabbies in Nottingham can now wirelessly charge their electric taxis as part of a pioneering Government-backed trial which underlines the city’s ambitions to become the UK’s first carbon neutral city by 2028.
The groundbreaking scheme has seen nine electric hackney cabs retrofitted with the latest, super-efficient wireless charging technology to power local journeys. The public can use the trailblazing new taxis from this week, at a specially upgraded rank outside Nottingham Station.
Nineteen local taxi drivers have so far volunteered to test a free cab to help Nottingham City Council and its project partners closely monitor the trial and share learnings with the Government to help shape future regulations and delivery of wireless charging projects.
This project will help partners discover the advantages and issues of this technology and iron out any problems.
Wireless Charging of Electric Taxis (WiCET) is a £3.4 million project funded by the Office for Zero Emission Vehicles through Innovate UK to assess the commercial and technical viability of deploying wireless charging for electric hackney cabs.
The City Council secured £930,000 from the Government’s Office for Zero Emission Vehicles through Innovate UK for the WiCET project. This is a UK first involving both London Electric Vehicle Company (LEVC) and Nissan Dynamo electric taxis, placing Nottingham at the forefront of green technology innovation.
It is expected that the trial of the wireless charging technology will demonstrate a range of benefits, including:
- Easy and convenient charging – drivers will be able to start a charge while waiting for passengers by driving over the pad without needing to leave their vehicle
- Reducing street clutter – no charging cables are required as the wireless charging equipment is built into the road surface
- Encouraging the adoption of more electric taxis in the city, which will lead to a reduction in emissions and help the city to achieve its 2028 carbon neutral target.
The project is led by Cenex, with partners Coventry University, Hangar-19, Nottingham City Council, Shell Research Limited, Sprint Power and Transport for London, with Lumen Freedom supplying the hardware.
Nottingham City Council’s Portfolio Holder for Highways, Transport and Parks, Councillor Audra Wynter, said: “I’m delighted to see Nottingham’s UK-leading wireless taxis hit the streets. This amazing new technology will make it easy and convenient for taxi drivers to charge their vehicles on-street between passengers and make a big difference in local air quality.
“This is another example of Nottingham leading the way in transport innovation, as we lead the country to become carbon neutral by 2028.”
Richard Sander, WiCET Project Manager and Technical Specialist at Cenex, said:
“Wireless charging has the potential for effective deployment across a wide range of applications from public transport to emergency vehicles and mobility solutions, and the results from our research will go on to inform future deployments.
“We are extremely proud to be starting the first physical trial of Wireless Charging of taxis in the UK here in Nottingham. This is a big step in understanding and demonstrating the potential of wireless charging as a core technology in the Electric Vehicle transition.
“Everyone involved in the project has worked hard behind the scenes to get us to this point, and I’m excited to see the impacts this will have for drivers, passengers and the environment.”.
The wireless taxi project is another example of Nottingham being at the forefront of new technologies and forms of transport – its launch coming in the same week that Nottingham announced an incredible 57% drop in carbon dioxide emissions since 2005.
The Council’s Future Transport Zone Programme is overseeing several projects, including the e-scooter rental trial, sharing fleet vehicle charge point infrastructure with other local councils lo and piloting new ‘mobility hubs’ which will bring different forms of transport together alongside public realm improvements in residential areas. The city also boasts an extensive tram network powered by green electricity, while 30% of the city’s buses are either electric or run on biogas.