Catching up with ChamonixECOCabs
ChamonixECOCabs launched last year. We caught up with manager James Coates this week, to find out how things are going with Chamonix’s only emission-free taxi service.
When did you start driving the Nissan Leaf; Chamonix’s first ‘eco cab’?
I started driving the Leaf in June 2015. I was immediately surprised at the levels of comfort and technology in the car. From the outset, I felt like I was driving a ‘normal’ modern car. My first customers were a British couple who used our services from Chamonix train station to Argentiere. They had no idea they were travelling in a fully electric car – which I take as a compliment for the Leaf. They didn’t notice it was any different from an ICE (internal combustion engine) car, which means the Leaf does its job.
How has the car performed over time? And in the cold weather of winter? What are your most common journeys?
The car performs really well! I have a charger in the garage so I can drive exactly how I want without needing to worry too much about the range. I simply charge the car when I get home so its always ready to go. Driving an electric car makes you very aware of hills and in Chamonix we have lots of them. Going up hill uses the battery fast, and going down charges it. You see all this in real time on the dashboard. My average driving range is probably around 160km (without trying to drive carefully). During winter it has dropped to about 140km.
I frequently travel to Megeve, Sallanches, Contamines, Martigny, Sion and other surround villages without problems. However, on journeys like these I tend to drive more economically to help increase the range.
How has the Chamonix ECOCabs business evolved?
The cab service is doing well and growing as more people hear about us. But I don’t believe many people use us because we are ECO. To be honest people use us because we answer the phone and speak English. But it’s great to know we are providing a service without polluting the valley, and helping protect our air quality.
Would you recommend the car to others?
I would definitely recommend the Leaf to people – and do so on a regular basis – provided it is not the car you need to travel long distances in on a regular basis. For local journeys, staying in or around the valley, it’s great. And in winter it has a heated steering wheel, and heated front and rear seats. It’s really very comfortable to drive. My only concern is that battery technology is advancing so quick there is already a more powerful battery on the 2016 model which has 50 km more range, what does this do to the value of mine? Hopefully I can get a good price for it on EcoVehicleExchange, when the time comes.
What next for ChamonixECOCabs?
We are going to continue to use our Leaf as much as possible and I am keeping a very close eye on the new Tesla Model 3 which is being launched on March 31st 2016. It sounds like the perfect car to add to our fleet, more details will be available soon. I certainly want to add more electric vehicles to our fleet but we will wait for the next generation of higher-range vehicles.
To book a journey with Chamonix Eco Cabs, contact us:
+33 (0)6 32 50 58 02
+33 (0)6 79 01 46 02
Follow us on twitter @chamonixECOcabs