HONG KONG – BYD announced on March 21 that it has delivered 45 e6s in Hong Kong for taxi fleet service, and the number of such electric taxis could reach 3,000 by 2015, reported ibtimes.com.
Hong Kong has plans to replace diesel buses and LPG taxis with electric-powered vehicles. Experts anticipate that this will reduce Hong Kong’s vehicle emissions by nearly 56 percent.
Wang Chuanfu, chairman and president of BYD Co., Ltd., said Hong Kong has been dedicated to promoting green transport for quite some time – electrifying public transportation will not only significantly save costs, but also dramatically lower the city vehicle emissions and improve air quality.
BYD said the first fleet of 45 BYD e6 pure electric taxis is scheduled for launch in Hong Kong in this May. Meanwhile, BYD and multiple partners have already built and tested three charging stations in Oi Man Estate, Shek Wai Kok Estate and Wong Tai Sin.
The second batch of charging stations is expected to be in place before May with the expectation that each taxi will be complemented by a charging appliance.
“We are treating this launch as an advertising campaign and a way to popularize the product, hoping that eventually we can sell the taxis to local operators,” said Wang, noting BYD is in discussions with the Hong Kong government for possible subsidies to car buyers, but he declined to elaborate.
BYD is also collaborating with local industry partners to pursue further developments in electrified public transport for Hong Kong, including BYD K9 buses.
Public transport is one of the major sources of air pollution in cities. Replacing the 18,000 LPG taxis and 12,000 diesel buses with electric taxis and buses would mean a reduction in emissions equivalent to over 800,000 private cars.
In Hong Kong, BYD plans to lease the e6 taxi for a monthly rental fee of just HK$8,000 ($1,000) to taxi operators as part of a trial program announced by BYD. By comparison, most taxi cars that run on LPG engines rent for around HK$21,000 a month.
BYD has introduced all-electric taxis in London this year, and other cities in Europe, Southeast Asia and South America also are being considered.
Long charging times and the demanding geography in densely populated Hong Kong are among the concerns over the practicality of the e6. While BYD said the e6 can run 250 to 300 km on a single charge, the many hills and frequent traffic congestions in Hong Kong could significantly lower the range, taxi operators said.
Ng Kwan-sing, chairman of the Hong Kong Taxi Dealers and Owners Association, said a typical taxi in Hong Kong runs between 500 km to 600 km each day, and long recharging times would mean less income for taxi drivers.
But he noted the energy costs will be significantly lower, at just HK$0.28 per km, down from some HK$0.6 per km by an LPG-powered taxi.