My First Ride in an Electric Taxi (Shenzhen, China)
Shenzhen is one of China’s more modern cities and it’s a place where there’s a strong focus on clean energy sources and on reducing pollution. It’s also where one of China’s more well known car makers resides, BYD. So what do you get when a bus company, a car company and some government help come together?
A fleet of full electric taxis. They now have 40 full electric cars operating as taxis and plans for 100 this year and 500 or more in the future. The car is the BYD E6 which is a small five door similar in size to a Hyundai Getz. By chance, I caught a ride in one from the metro station to the hotel.
The first surprising thing is, it’s quite, as it takes off theres just the whirring sound like an over-sized golf buggy (which it is i guess). Secondly, it’s got some fairly sharp acceleration too.
Also interesting is the use of english in large letters above the mandarin, this seems to be a trend I’m noticing , where branding is forged in english.
A local newspaper reports that, taking in all costs, they cost half as much to run as a small fuel efficient diesel. The car can apparently run for 300km on a full charge along the highway, or 200km in city use, but in heavy traffic that can drop to 150km. I’d imagine these taxi drivers get plenty of training on how to estimate trip kilometers and judge if they have enough battery remaining, I wonder if they have to tell some people “sorry, I can’t take you there my batteries running flat..’.
Apparently, a Shenzhen taxi does about 1000km per day, so, these taxis would have to recharge around 5 times a day. Charging takes one hour for a fast charge and much longer for a slow charge. So, there needs to be a culture shift within the industry to adjust until the technology improves further. There’s three charging stations built so far with plans for more.
Shenzhen currently has around 10,000 taxis serving a population of 14 million.
On the subject of taxis, walking around backstreets trying to find a particular restuarant, Susan and I staggered upon a taxi graveyard, pictured below. There was another 3 yards full of cars, considering the amount of taxis on the road, I’d say there’s plenty more of these graveyards!