‘Part of Bristol’s Electric Vehicle Centre of Excellence’ – plugged in for cleaner air

Bristol City Council is offering hackney carriage taxi drivers in Bristol the chance to try one of two electric taxis for free. The scheme is designed to help you decide if an electric vehicle is the right choice for your firm.

Leases will last from two to four weeks depending on how popular the scheme is and include free insurance cover*

The scheme will run for two years and is funded by National Highways.

*Insurance cover is subject to specific policy requirements. A free electric taxi loan cannot be agreed with anyone who does not meet the driving standards set out in the “Insurance” section. Information about insurance policy requirements is available further down this page.

Jump to:


Two purpose-built hackney carriages produced by LEVC with a plug-in hybrid range-extender electric vehicle are available to try on this scheme. 

The taxis will have a zero-emission electric range of up to 80 miles.

Their combined petrol and electric range will be up to 377 miles.

Each taxi drives in full-electric mode all the time, but is recharged by an 81-hp Volvo sourced 1.5-litre turbocharged three-cylinder petrol engine.  You can read more about the specific range information on the LEVC website here.

Help to go electric

The scheme is limited by the number of vehicles available for loan. Whilst you’re waiting for your lease to begin please visit the Go Electric advice page on how to reduce emissions from your fleet. 

Eligibility for the free electric taxi loan scheme

Bristol’s free electric taxi trial scheme is only available to Bristol City Council licensed hackney carriage taxi proprietors or drivers on a first come first served basis.

Taxi drivers applying for a free electric taxi loan must also:

  1. Operate at least one petrol or diesel vehicle
  2. Make frequent trips in and out of the city on the M32 or other motorways and major routes or travel regularly through the Clean Air Zone.
  3. Agree to loan requirements
  4. Complete monitoring forms before and after the lease term

The scheme is not open to:

  • Taxi firms that already own or lease an LEVC

Please note, we can only allow one electric taxi trial per driver.

We will prioritise applicants who currently drive a taxi which will not meet the emission standards of Bristol’s Clean Air Zone, launching on Monday 28 November 2022, or those whose vehicles are nearing the end of their working life.

Costs of taking part


A fully refundable £250 deposit must be paid at the start of the trial.  You won’t have to pay any other fees but we may charge you if you lose or damage the vehicle. Please see Other Costs for more details.


The cost of charging the vehicle is not included and you would need to pay for this.  There are more than 300 public use charge points across the West of England and you can use this interactive map to find your nearest charge point.

Public charging networks are run by a range of companies that usually offer a mix of slow (3-7kW), fast (7-22kW) and rapid (50+kW) charging options.  The UK charging networks are usually accessed via a membership scheme which you will need to join.  Some also offer contactless payment for rapid chargers.  More information on how to sign up to UK charging networks and how to pay to charge your vehicle using them, is available on the Zap Map website.

Revive is a public vehicle charging network owned and operated by councils in the West of England, which includes charge points installed in and around Bristol. You can find out more about Revive and how to sign up on the Revive pages.

How to apply

Apply online using our easy application form below.

Next steps

We’ll let you know whether you are eligible for the scheme.  If you are, we’ll contact you to discuss your application and match you to the most suitable vehicle available.

Additional information

  • As part of the handover and return of taxis we will ensure we comply with current restrictions and guidance around operating safely during Covid-19.

    All vehicles will be fully cleaned prior to loan.

  • The vehicle collection and return address is:

    Bristol City Council Fleet Services,

    Sandy Park Road Depot, Sandy Park Road,

    Bristol BS4 3NZ

  • The vehicle will be insured under a fully comprehensive vehicle insurance policy. Up to two drivers in each business/organisation can be insured to drive the leased vehicle but there are ‘driver acceptance criteria’ around age, penalty points and licence disqualification:

    • Drivers cannot borrow a vehicle under this scheme if they have points or a combination of points related to serious driving offences.
    • The number of penalty points cannot exceed six in total in the past three years.
    • The insured vehicle can only be driven by someone with a minimum age of 25 and a maximum age of 75 and they must have held a full UK/EU licence for two years.

    The insured vehicle cannot be loaned or driven by persons:

    • Convicted of an offence in connection with the driving of a motor vehicle or any person that has had their driving licence endorsed or suspended
    • Who have had their insurance declined and/or renewal refused or cancelled by any motor insurer
    • Who are not British or EU Citizens unless they have had three years recent and regular driving experience of a motor vehicle, other than a motorcycle, in the UK
    • Who whilst driving have been involved in more than one accident during the past three years

    The insured vehicle cannot be used:

    • For the carriage of goods of an explosive, dangerous or hazardous nature. If you’re unsure, please discuss prior to the loan commencing
    • In any restricted or hazardous locations without prior and express agreement by Bristol City Council and/or their Insurers
  • The vehicles are new and electric vehicles have fewer moving parts to go wrong so breakdown, maintenance and repair is rare. But to give you peace of mind contact details of who to call if you need assistance associated with a fault or breakdown will be provided as part of your induction on the day you collect your loan vehicle.

  • A £250 deposit will need to be paid by card to Bristol City Council in advance of the handover day. This is refundable on condition that the vehicle is returned with no damage. If the vehicle is returned damaged, the council reserves the right to withhold the deposit. If repair work exceeds the deposit, the business/organisation would be liable for the balance.

  • You will be charged for:

    • Lost Keys (manufacturer fee per key + £25 administration fee plus VAT)
    • Lost or damaged vehicle charging leads (manufacturer fee + £25 administration fee plus VAT)
    • Late return of vehicle (£50 fee plus VAT)
    • Failure to settle parking/driving penalties on request (£25 fee plus VAT)
    • Vehicle returns with signs of smoking (£100 fee plus VAT for full interior valet)
  • The business/organisation is responsible and liable for any parking, driving penalty, congestion or clean air zone charge imposed that is relevant to the taxi during your loan period.

    • The business/organisation will need to read and sign a loan agreement in advance of the day of handover. The agreement will be sent to you in advance of the collection date.
    • To review how successful the scheme is, you need to complete a short online questionnaire when we handover the electric taxi and on the day you return the taxi and the keys. Each will take no more than 15 minutes to complete

Translations. If English is not your first language and you need a translation, we can get one for you. Bengali; Polish; Chinese; Portuguese; Gujarati; Punjabi; Hindi; Somali; Kurdish; Urdu; Kosovan; Vietnamese.