Cumbria’s first electric taxi

Cumbria’s first electric taxi

IMG_0527When you’ve been running a taxi firm for over 18 years there’s not much you don’t know about cars, customers and running a business. Sue McKenzie launched Sue’s Taxis in 1996 as a single parent and now with partner of 10 years Steve and daughters Rebecca and Kelly all working in the business – it’s a family firm with a great reputation.

Sue’s Taxis has become the first taxi firm in Cumbria to buy and run an electric car as a taxi. Asked why she made the decision to go electric Sue commented “we’re always looking for new ways to help our customers get the best out of their experience with Sue’s Taxis. The Nissan Leaf is really quiet because it doesn’t have an engine, that means that customers can hear themselves chat inside the car much easier and when we’re doing late night collections and drop offs there’s much less chance of neighbours being disturbed. It’s also much smoother and needs a lot less maintenance so it won’t be off the road as much as our diesel taxis.”

Of course the environmental credentials of the Nissan Leaf are a major consideration and in comparison to the Skoda Octavia that the Leaf will replace carbon dioxide emissions will be reduced by 9.5 tonnes. Almost 12,000 houses in Allerdale have more than 2 cars and almost 60,000 in Cumbria if Sue can make a taxi work in West Cumbria then there’s huge potential for motorists in Cumbria to make massive savings in both Co2 and fuel costs. Sue often does corporate work for local firms and the local councils, as they move towards a greener future she’s sure Sue’s Taxis with the Nissan Leaf will become their taxi of choice

What convinced Sue and partner Steve to buy the Nissan Leaf as a taxi was the size and efficiency of the car. They were hugely impressed with the range after being sceptical like many people in Cumbria. Now that they have charging points at home and work supplied by Solway Renewables, they are convinced that even before the County Council charging points are installed later in the year that they can run double shifts with their electric taxi. They’re expecting to travel over 100 miles every day – every day.

Suzanne Burgess, Director at Solway Renewables who with husband and fellow Director Lawrence has been on a mission to get more electric vehicles into Cumbria, is thrilled to be helping Sue’s Taxis go electric. “It takes people like Sue & Steve to take the bull by the horns and prove that not only are electric cars viable in Cumbria but you can actually contemplate 40,000 – 50,000 miles a year with them” Suzanne has been driving between 200 and 300 miles a week in her own Nissan Leaf for the last 3 months without having to rely on public charging points.

Sue has a brilliant team of drivers but Steve and Kelly have bagged the Leaf and that’s who you’ll see driving Cumbria’s first electric taxi. They’re both adapting their driving skills to get the most out of the car’s range but they’re determined to prove that range anxiety is more in the mind than a reality. “We’re expecting a few hiccups along the way – it’s always the same with something new, but we’re on a mission to provide the best service we can for our customers and we’re positive this is the way forward.” says Steve. “We’re proud to be leading the way in Cumbria. Not only that, but we’re one of a very few taxi firms outside the capital to be converting to electric. It’s an exciting time for everyone at Sue’s Taxis.”