Oxford gets its first electric private hire car

Published: Friday, 5th July 2019

Oxford City Council has licensed its first fully electric private hire vehicle, thanks to the initiative of the McDermott brothers.

Their company, Vert2Go, provides executive chauffeur services and chose to buy a Tesla Model X for its electric range, interior space and low carbon credentials. The Tesla is capable of around 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. Vert2Go is initially focussing its services on corporate clients, luxury airport transfers and sustainable intercity transport.

Vert2Go has joined Oxford City Council’s Early Adopter group as the first Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle (ULEV) Private Hire Proprietor in the city. The City Council will provide Early Adopter Funding Support, worth £2138 over five years. In exchange Vert2Go has committed to share their learning with Oxford City Council, which will get valuable feedback from the company on topics such as charging and customer experience, which will inform future support for commercial electric vehicles in the city.

Mirroring the Hackney Carriage Early Adopter scheme, Oxford City Council will provide support to the first 10 adopters of ULEV private hire vehicles that are licensed by the City Council. The support will fund vehicle licence fees and certificate of compliance test fees – including Mr McDermott’s Tesla.

The first electric Hackney Carriage in Oxford was announced in April this year, and the City Council is actively encouraging others in the Hackney and Private Hire trade to make the change, through financial incentives, engagement events and an local taxi rapid charging network, funded by a £500000 grant from the Office for Low Emission Vehicle.

Earlier this year, Oxford City Council, and Oxfordshire County Council have published updated proposals for a Zero Emission Zone (ZEZ) in Oxford city centre. The aim of the ZEZ is to tackle Oxford’s toxic air pollution and protect the health of everyone who lives in, works in and visits the city. It is also expected that the ZEZ will improve air pollution levels across Oxfordshire because the buses and taxis that serve Oxford also serve towns and villages across the county.

Councillor 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. This is great news for Oxford and will help to tackle pollution and our climate crisis. 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. With the new Zero Emissions Zone coming into Oxford from 2020, it makes good business sense as well as being environmentally right.”

Robert McDermott, Managing Director of Vert2Go, said: “Low-emissions vehicles (LEVs) are rapidly becoming commonplace on our roads. Personal experience over the last four years using LEVs has taught us that the infrastructure is now vastly improved and driving one is far easier than we anticipated. Living in Oxford City and supporting the Council’s low-emissions policies, we realised the time was right to bring a fully electric, zero-emissions private hire company to Oxford.”