A TAXI firm in Northumberland aims to have most of its fleet of more than 100 cars running on electricity and hopes to install three public charging points.
Phoenix Taxis, based in Blyth, is looking at upgrading most of its cars over the next five years to electric vehicles and is currently testing the new upgraded Toyota Prius to assess its suitability.
The new version, which will be released this year, has an extended all-electric capability on top of its hybrid feature.
Phoenix hopes to get a taxi licence agreement with Northumberland County Council as soon as possible so it can then put in an order for the new vehicles.
To go with the new cars, the firm has also put in an application for funding to install three electric charging points at its new headquarters, which will also be available for the public to use.
The application to Government-funded Charge Your Car (North Ltd) went in this week and the taxi firm will hear soon.
The move is the latest in Phoenix Taxis’ green agenda and follows around five years of building a fleet that predominantly runs on LPG (Liquid Petroleum Gas).
The company had put in an application with the council last year to run electric Nissan Leafs as taxis but the application was rejected as the cars were considered too small.
The company is moving to its new £150,000 base just outside Blyth next month, which is where the charging points would be installed as the next chapter in their green agenda.
Managing director Alex Hurst said: “My dad did this before me, because there was the cost of fuel and he saw a gap in the market in terms of environmentally friendly companies.
“A lot of our customers have got environmental concerns, and we’ve got business because we can offer them a service which lowers our carbon footprint and theirs as well. We’re pretty confident of getting the charging points funded. Unlike Newcastle, I don’t know of many in Northumberland, which is a shame.
“We’re very excited, because the Nissan Leaf was a very nice car but the council wouldn’t do it.”
The firm will wait to see if the council will licence the Prius, and if so, will look to put in an order for vehicles.
A spokeswoman for Charge Your Car (North Ltd) said it had received the application for charging points and, if they agreed to fund them, would then commission contractors to assess the location. One of the requirements of funding is that points are available for use by staff and visitors or by the general public.
A Northumberland County Council spokeswoman confirmed it had knocked back an application last year because the Nissan Leaf was too small.