THE first zero emission capable black cab has arrived in Oxford.

The world’s first purpose-built electric black cab, the LEVC TX, is the first taxi of its kind to join Oxford’s licensed hackney carriage fleet.

Oxford Mail:

Previously Oxford’s Hackney Carriage fleet has consisted of 100 per cent of diesel vehicles – with 51 per cent being older than 15 years, the six oldest vehicles being 19 years old.

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Now Mohammed Yousaf Bajwa, 75, and his son-in-law Syed Zubair, 37, both from Oxford, have invested in the future by purchasing the London Electric Vehicle Company petrol-electric hybrid.

Oxford Mail:

Mr Bajwa said the new cab cost £54,000, which he bought with the help of a government grant of £7,500 and £10,000 from the sale of his old diesel cab.

The family also borrowed £30,000 and used savings to make the investment and are looking forward to much cheaper running costs.

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Checking in at a charging point at Rose Hill Community Centre, Mr Bajwa said: “We won’t need to spend much on fuel - previously it was £100 a week.

“Customers think the new vehicle is great - it’s very comfortable inside and there’s less noise.

Oxford Mail:

“And they want to travel with us because it is helping the environment.”

Earlier this year the city council announced new emission standards and licensing criteria for Hackney Carriage Vehicles between 2020 and 2025.

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The new standards will see the adoption of a phased approach to zero emission capable vehicles, with drivers only able to get a licence in 2025 if they have a zero emission capable cab.

Oxford Mail:

The council will be providing support to the first 10 adopters of zero emission capable black cabs that are licensed by the council. For the drivers the city council will waive vehicle licence fees and certificate of compliance test fees incurred up to and ending on March 31, 2024. These fees will be covered by grant funding and by the council, with a value of up to £3,000 per vehicle.

Last week, the council announced it will be working with a partner to offer a ‘Trial before you Buy’ programme for Hackney Carriage Vehicle drivers in Oxford as part of a £41m energy superhub trial for the city.

On trial will be the world’s largest hybrid battery system, connected to a substation in Cowley, which will boost the city’s electric vehicle charging capacity and heat about 300 homes.

Oxford Mail:

The council is also installing £500,000 in 19 electric vehicle charging points for black cabs and private hire vehicles.

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Earlier this year the city council and Oxfordshire County Council published updated proposals for a Zero Emission Zone in Oxford city centre. Tom Hayes, board member for a safer and greener environment, said: “Working with cabbies to reduce the number of polluting taxis to zero by 2025 is central to the council’s plan to improve everyone’s air quality.

"Mr Bajwa is investing in the health of his passengers, the city, and of course himself.”