Green Tomato Cars to axe diesels by end of 2018
Eco-focused private hire company Green Tomato Cars has committed to defleeting all diesels and upgrading its vehicles to exclusively zero emissions and hybrid models by the end of 2018 ahead of the roll-out of the Ultra Low Emission Zone.
The move was announced by co-founder Jonny Goldstone, who has returned to the helm as managing director of the business and revealed plans on “leading the way with advances in environmentally-friendly vehicle technology and making sure we treat all our customers, drivers and staff, as well as we can”.
The business is currently comprised of two-third Toyota Prius – all less than four years old – with the remainder of the fleet made up of diesel executive cars and people carriers along with some zero-emission cars including the Toyota Mirai, Hyundai Ioniq and Tesla S.
Now Goldstone has said that he expects hydrogen fuel cell (HFC) models and pure electric vehicles to make up a growing proportion of the fleet, starting in the first half of 2018 – with plans to defleet all its diesel cars over the course of 2018 and replacing them with zero emission or hybrid equivalents.
Commenting on the company’s plans, Goldstone said: “Happy to say we’ve been delighted with our trials of the Toyota Mirai, which operate as part of our fleet without any logistical restrictions save in the rarest of circumstances (i.e. the less than 1% of journeys over 100 miles); and also the pure electric Hyundai Ioniq, which doesn’t have the range of the Mirais but of course there are a lot more EV charging points than HFC stations.”
Goldstone also alluded to plans for “pioneering other innovative transportation services” but wouldn’t be drawn on details, saying: “We’re already trialling some very exciting concepts and hope to have more to say soon.”
Goldstone is also looking to further enhance services for passengers, providing a challenge to Uber, which is currently appealing after TfL refused to renew its licence in September.
Initial changes under Goldstone’s appointment include an upgraded website with easy, secure booking from the home page and a simplified process for drivers and business clients to apply to work with Green Tomato Cars.
Goldstone added: “‘Disruptors like Uber promote themselves as tech companies that happen to need people, with high tech and (by their own admission) unsustainably low prices being the driving force of their businesses. While everyone at Green Tomato Cars embraces the use of technology to help provide the best possible service, I believe the private hire business is all about people: passengers, staff and, above all, drivers.”