Converting the city’s taxi fleet over to electric cars is part of Beijing’s goal of cleaning up its polluted air and supporting the government’s electrification campaign.
China’s capitol city has announced a plan to see that all of the approximately 67,000 taxi cabs operating in Beijing be replaced with electric taxis.
The process will take place over the next decade or more. All new taxis are to be replaced by electric cars. The project is expected to cost taxi operators $1.3 billion to complete.
The city has become a symbol of China’s booming growth in jobs, urban populations, car sales, and tailpipe emissions. Taxi cabs are an easy target for government programs to address, with their vehicles typically being old, worn out and poorly maintained, and a visible source of air pollution.
Beijing’s move ties into the national government’s “new energy vehicle” (NEV) campaign to encourage manufacturing and sales of plug-in hybrid and battery electric vehicles.
Sales have surged in recent years, making China the largest global market for plug-in electrified vehicles. Fleet sales, including government entities, have been included in the NEV manufacturing subsidies and purchase incentives.
Chinese automakers see taxis, buses, and trucks as significant market segments to reach and to tap into NEV subsidies. BYD has been testing electric taxis with a few large cities in China.
The city needs a lot more charging stations for PEVs to take off with taxi companies and consumers considering buying these vehicles. Drivers may have to wait hours to get their PEV charged.
So far, only about 200 electric taxis have made it to Beijing. Only half of them are being utilized with the other 100 waiting to be charged, a driver told business newspaper Caixin.
Beijing and other Chinese cities have been named in studies on the severe health impact of pollution. A 2015 study found that air pollution was responsible for up to 4,000 premature deaths a day throughout China, according to Gas 2.0