A report by mobility company Free Now has revealed a significant increase in the customers specifically requesting hybrid and electric taxis when presented with the option to do so. Comparing the first quarter of 2021 versus the first quarter of 2022 shows a 630% increase in ‘Eco’ booking requests via the Free Now fleet. The Eco booking option is available in major cities across Ireland and allows customers to choose a hybrid or electric taxi via the app at no extra cost.
Free Now has already launched an ambitious plan to achieve half of all car rides to occur in fully electric taxis by 2025. It aims to be the first mobility platform in Europe to reach net-zero emissions by 2030.
With substantial cost savings in relation to operating costs backed up by generous government financial incentives, it’s not surprising that a growing number of taxi drivers are making the switch from diesel cars to electric vehicles.
Since the beginning of 2021, Free Now says that it has added more than 600 EVs to its fleet. It expects that number to rise to 1,120 by the end of 2022. A survey revealed that 41% of drivers made the switch to electric for environmental reasons, while 37% cited cheaper running costs as their primary reason for changing.
Fiona Brady, Head of Public Affairs and Operations at Free Now, said: Since launching our Eco booking option last year, we have seen a significant increase in demand for this service in Dublin, Cork, Limerick, and Galway. This surge in bookings is driven by the increased availability of hybrid and EV vehicles on our app, as well as the continued growing demand for more sustainable options from our passengers.
“Supporting the national effort to develop a more sustainable transport system across Ireland is a crucial part of our agenda, and the success of the Eco booking and the increased electrification of our fleet is another milestone in helping us reach our sustainability targets.
“We are also working closely with our driver partners to support them in making the switch to electric. Last year we invested 6 million euros to help taxi drivers across the country purchase home chargers for EVs, and this year we are hosting EV roadshows across the country to educate drivers on the benefits of switching to electric.”