Taxis – Electric vehicles to serve in Beijing

On Jan. 9, staff members inspect rechargeable electric taxis at the first charge station for electric taxis in Beijing, China’s capital city. The 2,205-square-meter charge station, capable of recharging 50 electric vehicles at the same time, was opened in Yanqing County in December 2010.

At present, the first batch of 50 electric taxis, which have a car lithium ion batteries of 25 kilowatts each, have already gone into service. It was reported that the electric taxi can run more than 150 kilometers when fully charged.

According to a government draft plan on energy conservation and developing new energy industries covering 2011 to 2020, Beijing plans to spend 100 billion yuan (1.2 trillion yen, or $15 billion) to promote the development and sales of electric vehicles.

The Chinese government envisages having 5 million electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids on the road by 2020, as well as sales of about 15 million regular hybrids a year. Over the same period, the number of electric charging stations will be increased to 4,000 by 2015 and to 10,000 by 2020.

The catalysts for the push to electric in the rapidly growing market are concerns about pollution and depleted resources. At the same time, Chinese manufacturers are pinning their hopes on turning the tables on Japanese, U.S. and European automakers in the budding market for electric cars.

"With regards to electric vehicles, everyone is at the starting line," Toshiyuki Shiga, chief operating officer at Nissan Motor Co., said in introducing the company’s Leaf EV at the Guangzhou motor show.

In Shenzhen, considered a front-runner in EV use, efforts are under way to promote all-electrics for public transportation. In February, BYD and the local government-affiliated bus company set up the Pengcheng Electric Taxi Co., a joint venture operating a fleet of 50 electric-powered taxis.