When you think of a Taxi, especially if you live in the U.S., you probably think of a Ford Crown Victoria. That stereotype holds true, especially in urban settings like Chicago, San Francisco, L.A. and New York. The problem with that is the lack of economy from those vehicles and the impact on the environment. This has lead to cab companies to look for alternatives. You might remember back a couple of years to a report AllSmallCars.com did on the introduction of the Prius into Denver Taxi fleets. Then in Chicago last year we reported on our ride in a hybrid taxi—a use for hybrid technology that seems to make a lot of sense given the ratio of city to highway driving. That poses the question: What if you could drive an electric vehicle as a Taxi?

BYD in China is a step ahead of that question with the launch of their e6 compact electric crossover vehicle. The vehicle seats five and produces zero emissions—but can it hack it as a Taxi in Shenzhen, China? The data results are in for some 1,730,000 miles and the outcome is encouraging. BYD has been testing some 50 all-electric e6 taxis that cover anywhere from 175 to 315 miles a day according to our partners over at GreenCarReports.com. With an typical range of 160 miles in a BYD e6, you can see that most taxis are recharged at least once during their service period. However, that isn’t bad considering that a quick charge can take 20-30 minutes and results in an 80% battery pack charge.

What is most interesting about the data from BYD is that the batteries seem to have remained stable and continue to perform as designed. Studies have shown that using quick charge stations could be harmful to the battery packs, however as technology gets better that scenario may be lessened. Apparently, passengers are even satisfied.

"Drivers and passengers alike have been extremely satisfied with their ride experience,” said Stella Li, a senior vice president at the cab company.

Imagine if major fleets of taxis were all-electric—it is easy to see a large reduction of urban emissions. The question is, how long will it take to see that kind of adoption. We bet another 3-5 years. When average electric car range is up to 300 miles per charge, I think there will be little reason not to own an electric car for most consumers—at least for one of the several cars they might own.


Be sure to check out all of the details on the BYD Taxi Test over at GreenCarReports.com.