OXFORD’S first fully electric private hire vehicle is helping the city move towards a Zero Emission Zone.

City council leaders have welcomed the initiative of the McDermott brothers whose company, Vert2Go, provides executive chauffeur services.

It has chosen to buy a Tesla Model X for its electric range, interior space and low carbon credentials.

Oxford Mail:

The Tesla is capable of about 230 miles on one charge and can be charged quickly on Tesla’s Supercharging network before long journeys, allowing London, Cambridge and Birmingham to be in range without impacting passenger journey times.

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Vert2Go is initially focusing its services on corporate clients, luxury airport transfers and sustainable intercity transport.

Oxford Mail:

Robert McDermott, managing director of Vert2Go, said: “Living in Oxford and supporting the council’s low-emissions policies, we realised the time was right to bring a fully electric, zero emissions private hire company.”

The move comes after the first electric hackney carriage in Oxford was announced in April.

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Tom Hayes, cabinet member for Zero Carbon Oxford, said: “Just a few weeks after Oxford received its first zero emissions-capable black cab, the city is now going to see its first electric private taxi on our roads.

"I’m delighted the council has been able to support this new development, and I’m sure we’ll see many more licensed operators going electric.

Oxford Mail:

“With the new Zero Emission Zone coming to Oxford from 2020, it makes good business sense as well as being environmentally right.”

Vert2Go has joined the council’s Early Adopter group as the first Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle (ULEV) Private Hire Proprietor in the city.

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The council will provide Early Adopter Funding Support, worth £2,138 over five years.

Oxford Mail:

In exchange, Vert2Go has committed to share it learning with the council, which will get valuable feedback on topics such as charging and customer experience, to inform future support for commercial electric vehicles in the city.

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The innovation has coincided with Nick Eyre, a professor at the Environmental Change Institute at Oxford University, arguing that continued car dependency, electric or otherwise, would lead to ‘more urban sprawl, inactive lifestyles and congestion’.

Prof Eyre added that the Government should be investing in ways to reduce car use.

Oxford Mail:

Mirroring the Hackney Carriage Early Adopter scheme, the council will provide support to the first 10 adopters of ULEV private hire vehicles that are licensed by the council.

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Council managers are encouraging others in the Hackney and Private Hire trade to make the change, through financial incentives, engagement events and a local taxi rapid charging network, funded by a £500,000 grant from the Office for Low Emission Vehicles.