BEIJING TAXIS GOING GREEN
It’s never easy going green, but the Beijing taxi fleet seems set to give it a try.
The city’s 46,000 taxis will be switched from petroleum power to electric over the next three to four years, if a statement made by Zhang Xiyong, vice-president of China’s Beijing Automotive Industry Group can be believed. Zhang made his comments at the Global Automotive Forum in Wuhan.
The idea has been met with resistance from Beijing’s notoriously not-so-charming drivers, who fear that battery capacity will reduce the time they can spend on the road waving people off. Electric vehicles have a range between 160 and 320 kilometers per charge. The city government plans to establish battery exchange stations, where drivers will be able to swap batteries and head back on the road quickly. The move is part of the city government’s efforts to reduce pollution, especially auto emissions.
Drivers were less than amused by the smattering of compressed natural gas-powered taxis that were introduced prior to the 2008 Olympics and removed from service shortly afterwards. There is no indication that the move to electric power would affect taxi fares.
We will have to wait and see if Beijing can make this happen.