Wigan eco-cabbie calls for more electric charge points
Wigan’s first electric black cab driver has highlighted the lack of charge points available for his vehicle.
Steven McClymont got the car in November and says it has been a hit with his passengers, who love travelling in it.
But finding places to juice up has proved a real headache for the self-employed cabbie.
The Greater Manchester Electric Vehicle (GMEV) network, established in 2014, only has two charge points in Wigan town centre: one on Mona Street car park and the other at Water Street multi-storey which is only available until 7pm.
Mr McClymont has been using Mona Street, leaving his car there when he finishes work and walking home to Scholes.
He said: “I have no drive so can’t have a charge point at my property to charge at night. I’m having to charge on that charge point and walk back to
Wigan at 10.30pm to 11pm, when the vehicle is fully charged.”
He often goes out of the borough, such as Haydock’s Holiday Inn, but travelling back to Wigan afterwards wastes some of the charge.
He said: “Around 1,500 miles of what I have done this year is travelling outside the borough to charge my vehicle.”
Mr McClymont used to spend around £180 a week on fuel for his black cab, with the new green vehicle costing roughly £30 instead. There are eco-benefits too but he says other drivers are not following his lead due to the dearth of charge points.
“I have had two or three people talk to me and I have introduced them to the place where I bought my cab,” he said. “They have test-driven them, loved the cab but wouldn’t buy them because there are no charge points.”
Mr McClymont, 41, praised Wigan Council’s efforts to support him, but wants GMEV to do more. He says he was told more charge points would be installed, but is still waiting.
GMEV said there were short timescales when the network was set up in 2014 due to the availability of funding and Wigan Council identified these two points as ones which could be delivered on time.
A spokesman said: “We are looking forward to rolling out a further 48 rapid charging points (24 dual bays) across Greater Manchester soon.
“The funding for the new charging points has been provided by government for use in areas where they can best help to reduce high levels of nitrogen dioxide air pollution from vehicle emissions.
"We expect to be able to announce the timescales and locations for installing the new charging points soon, with the roll out starting later this year.”