BYD e6 electric taxi in service in Shenzhen, ChinaEnlarge Photo
With Hong Kong's poor air quality responsible for thousands of deaths every year, the city is desperately seeking ways to curb escalating pollution.
Plans to take many of the city's dirtiest vehicles off the streets should help, but electrification of the city's taxi fleet is another possibility.
Hong Kong's streets rumble to the sound of over 550,000 vehicles, only 310 of which were fully electric, by April 2012.
Electrifying much of the city's 18,000-strong taxi fleet may not make much of a dent in the city's traffic, but as taxis, those extra few percent make up some of the harder-working vehicles in Hong Kong.
Many taxi companies are already considering a move to electric vehicles, and Nissan has stated it's to introduce 50 Leaf taxis in 2013, as well as 100 NV200 electric vans.
Chinese firm BYD, already operating electric taxis in China, says it plans to introduce the e6 to Hong Kong as a taxi, and Fiat wants to introduce an electric version of its Doblo van. Toyota too has seen some orders placed, albeit for plug-in hybrids rather than full electric vehicles.
There are some reservations over increasing numbers of electric cars, however. Most HK taxis drive around 250 miles per day, greater than a typical electric car's range.
The city has also been slow to install charging points, with only 1,000 available as yet--though with sufficient investment from taxi companies, that could change. Hong Kong's government, like elsewhere, offers large subsidies for those buying electric vehicles and using public transport.
Hong Kong is the latest in a line of other cities wanting larger electric and plug-in taxi fleets. London and New York have both shown an interest, while a fleet of Nissan Leafs is already used to ferry fares around Tokyo.