BYD e6 electric taxi in service in Shenzhen, ChinaEnlarge Photo
It might not be going on sale to U.S. consumers, but the BYD e6 will eventually appear in the U.S. in commercial fleets--perhaps to a taxi stand near you.
Taxi duties seem to be the e6's true calling, and it's already operating in China in just such a role.
Now it's going on duty in Hong Kong too, where pollution dogs the city's streets and the government is placing increased emphasis on cleaner, greener vehicles.
The city announced plans late last year to curb pollution, with commercial vehicles in particular--unhindered by modern pollution standards--to blame for the city's choking smog. Pollution is deemed to be the cause of more than 3,000 extra deaths each year in the city.
Just a month later Hong Kong announced that a fleet of electric taxis would be deployed, with the eventual aim of electrifying the entire 18,000-strong fleet.
Among the companies intending to supply taxi fleets in Hong Kong are Nissan, with 50 Leafs due this year, Toyota with a fleet of hybrids, and Fiat, which says it will introduce an electric version of its Doblo passenger van.
The first BYD e6 taxis went on duty at the weekend, with 45 cars in a bright red paint scheme hitting the city's streets. The five-door crossovers take two hours to charge, and can cover 180 miles from full.
Speaking to Phys.org, president and chairman of the Hong Kong Taxi and Public Light Bus Association Wong Chung Keung, said, "
"The idea of being environmentally friendly is a global trend and the electric car is one good example. An electric car saves the cost of fuel and will allow our taxi drivers to earn more," adding that the electric vehicles cost as little as a fifth per mile to run.
He now calls for more charging stations to be installed around the city, something BYD itself is contributing to, with 47 chargers in nine locations near car parks.
So if you're traveling to Hong Kong any time soon, keep an eye out for the new electric taxis--it could be the cleanest way of getting about the city.