Taxi drivers who switched to electric cars are switching back to fossil fuel engines ahead of the council introducing fees for charging their cars, it has been claimed.
The Tele understands a number of drivers have either made the switch from electric vehicles (EVs) to traditional diesel-powered cars, or are in the process of doing so.
Frustrated drivers say the added cost of paying for charging means EVs will cost more to own in the long run than conventional cars.
The Tele revealed in January Dundee City Council was set to introduce fees for electric car charging later this year, following similar moves by other councils such as Dumfries and Galloway.
However, the charge plan has been criticised by drivers who bought EVs because of the promise of free charging, which are said to offset the extra costs associated with buying one.
Chris Elder, local Unite the Union taxi representative, claimed drivers would end up spending as much on charging their cars as they would filling up on diesel. As a result, he said, there was no longer an incentive to switch.
“If Dundee charges the same rates as Dumfries and Galloway it would cost drivers £10-12 to charge them up,” Mr Elder said.
“If they’re charging that Saturday and into Sunday they’re looking at possibly £40 in all for charging – plus the cars are more expensive.”
A basic model Nissan Leaf – a popular EV taxi in Dundee – is £27,995, including a £3,500 government grant. However, the diesel Skoda Octavia saloon is £20,000.
Dundee City Council has been persuading locals to buy EVs to reduce the city’s carbon footprint.
It has spent millions on dedicated electric charging hubs across the city and rapid chargers inside its multi-storey car parks.
Because EVs do not produce emissions, they are immediately better for air quality than an equivalent conventionally fuelled car.
Mr Elder insists taxi drivers are awake to the environmental benefits of electric taxis.
He said: “The council has jumped the gun. We should be incentivised to choose low-emission vehicles like hybrids and when the infrastructure is there look at electric vehicles. It is ridiculous they are thinking of charging fees now.”
Dundee City Council was approached for comment ahead of going to press.