Tesla for a taxi at Lancaster

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LANCASTER City Council has just licensed its first electric private hire vehicle, a Model 3 Tesla.

Unlike most taxis, this one won’t be picking up people after a night out or taking people to the supermarket.

Instead it will be providing ‘an executive service’ to airports and seaports, with a range of 348 miles giving it the ability to travel across the country.

It’s the brainchild of Caton entrepreneur and businessman Stephen Brown, who saw a gap in the market for a service that would provide an element of luxury for people going, or returning, on holiday.

“I’m a big believer that your holiday starts in the car,” Mr Brown explained.

“For many that’s in a 10 to 12-year-old vehicle, while we’re offering the opportunity to do so in style.

“A lot of people also want to offset the carbon footprint from flying, whereas with us they’ll be able to do their bit before they even step on the plane.”

Stephen Brown (left) receiving his private hire plates from Coun Colin Hartley, chair of the council's licensing committee, watched on by Coun Kevin Frea, deputy leader.
Stephen Brown (left) receiving his private hire plates from Coun Colin Hartley, chair of the council’s licensing committee, watched on by Coun Kevin Frea, deputy leader..

Stephen has big plans for the business, the newly inaugurated Zero Cars Ltd, having already achieved success with his own plumbing business.

His future plans include installing a car port with solar panels, so he is able to generate his own electricity for his fleet of cars.

“It’s always a bit of a risk when you start any new business,” he added.

“But I firmly believe that electric vehicles are the future and as a country we need to be investing in the infrastructure to support them.”

Lancaster City Council has already rolled out electric charging points at five of its own car parks.

Next year it also plans, with the help of a grant from the Department for Transport, to install rapid charging points for taxis at council car parks in Morecambe and Lancaster.

Coun Colin Hartley, Chairman of the council’s Licensing Committee, added: “As a council we want to encourage the taxi trade to make the move to electric vehicles and I very much hope that this will be the first of many such applications.

“A shift to electric vehicles will not only help with the council’s stated aims in tackling the climate emergency but make a big contribution to improving local air quality.”