Could electric cars be the future of taxi fleets?

Electric vehicles have been hailed by some as being the future of transport, but in many countries, they have been slow to take off.…

Electric vehicles have been hailed by some as being the future of transport, but in many countries, they have been slow to take off. But Nissan’s LEAF car, which is the most popular electric vehicle ever, seems to have had more success, as now many countries, such as Germany, Portugal, Switzerland and even the UK are taking up the idea of electric taxis.

Portugal was the first European country to sell Nissan’s model and taxi drivers in the country have taken to trading in their less environmentally friendly model for something a little greener. One taxi driver in the country was even quoted as saying that 70% of his customers would actively prefer a ride in an electric car.

The rate that electric taxis are increasing varies from country to country, with Amsterdam being one of the biggest consumers. The Amsterdam based company ‘Taxi-E’ has 13 electric cars in its fleet and is working towards making its fleet even greener, but its use of renewable electricity when charging its cars is a step in the right direction.

Zurich in Switzerland is keen to follow Amsterdam’s example, and will be employing ten electric cars within their fleet later in the year. The city does not intend to stop there however, as it plans to convert 15% of its fleet to electric cars by 2015.

Closer to home, Phoenix Taxis in Northumberland have chosen to run one of Nissan’s electric cars and have installed a number of charging points at their headquarters, saying that it helps to reduce the costly expenditure of fuel for a taxi driver.

However, it is not just Nissan which has had success with electric cars in the taxi business. In Hong Kong, the BYD e6 car, manufactured by BYD Autos, has leased an initial fleet of 45 cars to the Hong Kong Taxi & Public Light Bus Association, with hopes of increasing this figure to 5000 within the next three years. The lease will be BYD Autos’ first customer in Hong Kong.

While electric cars may not necessarily provide cheaper taxi insurance, they are exempt from tax and mostly cheaper to run, so taxi drivers will find themselves saving money in the long run. Battery ownership can however be more complicated, as sometimes the battery is leased, so drivers often find they have to check this before attempting to get insurance.

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