AN ECO-FRIENDLY taxi firm has introduced a new vehicle to its fleet.

Ecocabs, which is based in Hexham, welcomed the first Ford Tourneo Custom Plug-in Hybrid Vehicle (PHEV) to be operated anywhere in the UK, this month.

The purpose-built vehicle will transport passengers more efficiently. using smart, hybrid technology.

And intelligent design will create a refined and sophisticated interior for passengers.

Founder and managing director of Ecocabs Matthew Kirby said of the nine-seater vehicle: "Sustainability remains top of our agenda at Ecocabs.

"The introduction of the new Ford Tourneo continues our commitment to cutting the CO2 emissions of our fleet and reducing our overall impact on the environment.

"We would envisage with the current pace of change in electric and hybrid technology that our whole fleet could be electric or hybrid within the next 18 to 36 months".

He added: "At the moment, all electric vehicles cannot fulfil the operational demands of a rural taxi service, so the hybrid vehicle makes much more sense for a rural operator."

The PHEV will use two sources of power to transport passengers more efficiently, including an electric powertrain and a 1.0 litre Ecoboost engine.

The sustainable taxi, travel and tourism support company provides services across Tynedale and supports sustainable travel and tourism across much of Britain.