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Taxi operators across cities in Europe are going through a quiet revolution as they start to shift from conventional diesel powered cabs to zero-emission - and near silent Nissan Leaf taxis. Two years after the EV went on sale in Europe, Nissan Leaf taxis are now operating in European cities like Holland, Switzerland, Germany, Portugal, Spain and the U.K.
The world's best-selling electric vehicle (EV) is fast becoming a favourite among taxi drivers too, thanks to lower running costs and fueled by a desire to reduce airborne pollution in city centres. These road warriors are fast-becoming EV advocates showing colleagues the benefits of making the switch from diesel to electric.
One of the strongest advocates is Amsterdam-based Taxi-E company. With a fleet of 13 Nissan LEAF's, the firms' drivers have covered over 700,000km - further than the distance between earth and the moon. The cars are quick-charged two or three times daily using 100 percent green energy, meaning they're always ready for passengers.
The city of Zurich in Switzerland, will soon obtain ten Nissan Leaf supported by a network of city-wide fast chargers as part of the city's plans to make 15 percent of its taxi fleet electric by 2015. Capable of restoring the battery life by up to 80 percent in just 30 minutes, many customers arrive with partially full batteries, thus making the average stay - just 15 minutes.
In Portugal, the first European country to sell the Leaf, Lisbon based owner-driver Jose Ferreira replaced his diesel powered taxi with a Leaf and has since driven more than 15,000km so far. Interestingly he reveals 70 percent of his customers liked the experience - and they would actively choose to ride in an electric taxi.
Fuel and running costs are the biggest factors for taxi owner-drivers. Owner-driver Roberto San Jose from Valladolid, Spain, would have to spend more than