For charging electric taxis, taxi drivers usually rely on public charging points. But they are often occupied and new charging points are only slowly being added. So how can public charging become more attractive for taxis? Robert van den Hoed of the National Knowledge Platform for Charging Infrastructure (NKL) talks about this.
Sustainability is high on the agenda in the taxi sector. The KNV industry association explains that this has everything to do with the fact that sustainable vehicles are requested in many tenders. If you, as a taxi entrepreneur, can respond to this, you will have an advantage over your competitors. Currently, battery-electric vehicles are often opted for.
However, these must be charged. This is not without its challenges, as was discussed on Monday in the theme broadcast of TaxiPro TV about charging infrastructure for electric taxis. Wim Leewis of Leewis Passenger Transport now has nine electric vehicles. His drivers take these vehicles home to charge them at public charging points. However, they run into practical problems. For example, the charging stations are often occupied, charging is sometimes slow or the poles are not in the ideal location.
According to Leewis, the various municipalities where the company is active indicate that a charging station is easily accessible. can be requested and posted. “In practice, this turns out to take years. In addition, the municipality does not install the charging station itself, but a commercial party is given the opportunity to install one. We then depend on which rate is charged. This may not be too high, in view of the tenders.”
Loading on your own driveway or on your own company site The NKL is a foundation that is engaged in the development of suitable charging infrastructure for electric driving. According to Robert van den Hoed, the most ideal option for charging an electric vehicle is in the driver’s own driveway. “In an instant you have the plug in and you can charge daily. However, we realize that not everyone has this luxury. About 22 percent of households have their own driveway and the rest depend on public charging infrastructure.”
For company cars, such as taxis, charging on company premises could also be an attractive option. “One of the many advantages of this is that the energy costs are lower than with other charging options. This varies depending on your energy contract and how big you are as a customer. It is possible 10 à 20 save euro cents per kilowatt hour. This is perhaps half of what you pay with your home bill and a third of what you pay with a public (fast) charger.”
Application for a charging station Yet this is not possible for all entrepreneurs, for example if a business space is rented, no permission is given for the installation of charging stations. Then there is no other option than public loading. “If the charging capacity in the area is limited, taxi operators can indicate at a special counter of the municipality that they want a charging station at a certain location. It will then be checked whether there are already charging stations and how the occupancy is.”
If the occupancy is indeed quite high, the municipality says that it is a good time, according to Van den Hoed. is to place a charging station. “Then the whole process starts with the grid operator and you are then sixteen weeks further. In principle, this should be the case for many locations. But I also realize that this is not the case everywhere, and that is of course a bad thing, especially for a commercial entrepreneur. They must have certainty about this.”
Solutions for high occupancy rates There are now tens of thousands of charging stations in Netherlands and more and more people use the same charging point. For this reason, QR codes are increasingly appearing on charging stations. Van den Hoed explains that these are private initiatives. The QR code leads to a WhatsApp group with users of that charge point, in order to coordinate use. “These kinds of initiatives may work for private users, but I am well aware that the occupation of charging stations within, for example, the taxi industry is more sensitive. You just have to be able to load.”
According to Van der Hoed, sector organizations such as KNV should therefore enter into discussions with municipalities to develop a more structured policy in this area. “In Rotterdam, it can already be indicated during the application process for a charging station whether or not you are a taxi operator. At the moment there is not much else happening with this than monitoring whether a charging point is used by many parties.”
However, according to him, this data could also be used to provide taxi drivers with their own charging point more quickly or to enable a heavier connection when a taxi driver arrives at a charging station. “From 22 instead of 07 kilowatts for example, double that. As a result, the vehicle is fully loaded faster.” Because municipalities have high demands in the field of sustainability, taxi entrepreneurs should also expect something in return in the field of charging infrastructure. “Drivers must be offered a certain degree of security.”
Loading at nearby company sites Van der Hoed ten Finally, one more tip for taxi drivers who rely on public charging infrastructure. “Drivers who live near a business park with charging points could make agreements with these companies to be allowed to charge here. These charging stations are often only used during the day when employees are in the office. Perhaps taxis can be parked there in the evening and loaded at a favorable rate and possibly with burglary protection. I would find that an interesting path to walk.”
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