Electric Taxis Gaining Ground in 2016
Deployment of plug-ins by taxi fleets was somewhat slow in the first few years following the emergence of modern electric vehicles back in late 2010. As we touched on a few months ago though, things are beginning to pick up—especially overseas.
In Madrid, Nissan announced last month that it’s set to supply Europe’s largest electric taxi fleet with 110 new all-electric LEAFs. The cars will be outfitted with Nissan’s new, larger 30-kWh battery packs, which achieve 250 km (155 miles) under European range testing. Nissan now provides more than 800 electric taxis worldwide—second only to China’s BYD, which has 850 in service in its home city of Shenzhen alone.
The BYD e6 is rapidly becoming one of the most popular fleet electric vehicles in Asia and Latin America. In June, a company called HDT registered to become the first electric-only cab fleet in Singapore, where it is expected to deploy 100 e6 taxis in the near future. This is in part thanks to a recent commitment on the part of Singapore—which has frequently been called Asia’s “greenest” city—to install 2,000 public charging stations. In South America, Colombia and Uruguay each have roughly 50 e6 compact crossover taxis on the streets of their capital cities.
BYD is also making some inroads in the United States and Europe. Taxi companies in Rotterdam and Brussels have been using the e6 for several years, and as part of a pilot program in Chicago, Uber drivers are being given the opportunity to rent one of 25 e6 vehicles on a short-term basis at a cost of $200 per shift.
While there is still a plenty of ways to go before electric cars hit a critical peak within taxi fleets, these announcements are a progressive step forward. As gas prices rise and charging infrastructure matures, the case for electric taxi fleets can only improve.
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