Londoners hitch free-ride in Nissan LEAF in effort to raise EV awareness
Journey requests came in for destinations all over London, from Covent Garden to Croydon, with professional taxi drivers from Battersea-based Climate Cars driving the 100% electric fleet. The rides were free to underline that mile-for-mile an electric car is six times cheaper to fuel than a conventional petrol-powered car.
And as each mile in a Nissan LEAF costs only 1.75p* in electricity consumed, Nissan decided not to quibble over a fare of just a few pence. In fact, the only charging involved over the weekend was for the cars themselves. The activity is also being used to gather consumer feedback on a potential taxi of the future, with Nissan already confirmed as the exclusive supplier of the next New York yellow cab.
To grab a free ride, passengers were required to send a Tweet that included the hashtag #6XCHEAPER. Digital messaging is an integral part of Nissan’s ambitious campaign, ‘The Big Turn On’, which is spreading the EV message via social media channels aimed to get one million consumers switched on to electric diving in just 100 days. The 1 million ‘turn ons’ target was achieved on 21st June, 18 days ahead of the original target.
Kirsten Rutherford (@KirstenKupcake), a creative writer in the advertising industry, enjoyed her journey to Vauxhall, tweeting: “husband is LOVING it, Quick, quiet and of course #6xcheaper!!! Perfect for London.”
Nik Poon (@nQuo) a digital strategist, tweeted after his ride to Oxford Circus: “First time in a Nissan LEAF. Conclusion? Electric is the way to go. Just a matter of time.”
Successful tweeters picked up their ride at a special ‘taxi rank’ at the Truman Brewery, near Liverpool St Station, and drove off, silently. The most popular destination was Covent Garden and the LEAF taxis even travelled outside of a London postcode, south of the river to Croydon, 15 miles from Shoreditch.
A trip from central London to Heathrow Airport, for example, would cost the Nissan LEAF driver a mere 28p in electricity whereas the driver of a petrol-powered car would be forking out £1.68 in fuel. A trip to Oxford – at approximately 60 miles, well within the car’s range – would cost the Nissan LEAF driver less than £1 in fuel, but would cost the driver of a conventional car almost £6.
Electric vehicles enjoy even more savings. Because it produces zero exhaust emissions, Nissan LEAF is exempt from London’s congestion charge and attracts no annual vehicle excise duty or company car tax, helping the financially squeezed motorists as much as possible.
'Every passenger got out of the Nissan LEAF taxi with a smile on their face. They loved the near silence and general refinement of the car and were blown away when they discovered how cheap it is to fuel. Using off-peak electricity – such as when recharging overnight – means it really costs just a few pence in fuel to go anywhere by Nissan LEAF,' said Jim Wright, managing director of Nissan Motor (GB) Limited.
London isn’t the only city in Europe to benefit from no charge taxi trips courtesy Nissan: a fleet of Nissan LEAF EVs will be offering free rides in Amsterdam this coming Saturday (30 June).