When it comes to expertise and know-how in urban transport, taxi drivers definitely top the leaderboard. Public transport drivers are becoming increasingly environmentally-aware and many are joining the drive for sustainable mobility by purchasing electric or gas-powered cars. In addition, together with buses and delivery trucks and vans, they play a strategic role in boosting electric mobility in the city.
For instance, the Nissan LEAF now features in Barcelona’s fleet of 100% electric cars, with eight e-NV200 model vehicles. In fact, even the electric version of the iconic London cab is set to become a regular sight on the streets of Barcelona in 2018.
Barcelona is a smart city at the forefront of global sustainable mobility, thanks to its Air Quality Improvement Plan which includes measures such as toll discounts, access to the Bus-HOV priority lane and efficient driving courses, etc. Since December 2016 applications have also been accepted for specific subsidies, another of the measures included in the plan.
These subsidies are offered by Generalitat de Catalunya (Catalonia’s autonomous government) to encourage the purchase of electric and low emissions vehicles for use as taxis, for commercial use and for other services operating in areas designated as special environmental protection zones for 2017. The closing date for online applications at this link is 9th February 2017 (inclusive). Beneficiaries of this grant include professionals that have acquired vehicles of this type since 5th April 2015 and up until the subsidy closing date and who operate in the specified area.
The value of the subsidies will vary in accordance with the vehicle type and are as listed below:
€4,000 for the acquisition of an M1 category vehicle (maximum 8 passengers excluding the driver, designed for passenger transport in accordance with Commission Directive 2001/116/CE), that is 100% electric or a plug-in hybrid with an all-electric range of 40 km.
€1,000 for the purchase of an M1 category vehicle powered by LP gas, dual-fuel or a petrol-hybrid system with NOx emissions lower than or equal to 60 mg per km.
€4,500 for the purchase of a 100% electric N1 category vehicle (designed for goods transport with a maximum authorised mass of no more than 3.5 tons) with an extended all-electric or plug-in hybrid range of 40 km.
€1,200 for the purchase of an N1 category vehicle powered by LP gas or dual fuel with a petrol engine.
The subsidy is limited to the purchase of a maximum of 5 vehicles per beneficiary.
Full details and the terms and conditions are available for consultation here.
A reduction in daily operating costs has proved to be the greatest incentive among those taxi drivers that have already purchased an electric taxi, whilst according to most low emission taxi users, savings and comfort are the major strengths. Indeed, driving an electric taxi in Barcelona currently costs between one and two euros per 100 km, which means monthly fuel savings of up to €300. In addition, maintenance costs are zero, and in general there is an improvement in quality of life. Various testimonials claim that their income is the same albeit in fewer hours.
Carles Casanova was the first person to drive an electric taxi in Catalonia and is a member of groups such as Taxiecologic.com or Taxielectri.cat, who have opted for eco-friendly options by offering zero emission and zero noise taxi services in Barcelona. We asked this expert in this field to give us a first-hand insight into his experience.
VIDEO OF THE INTERVIEW WITH CARLES CASANOVA