Beijing is aiming to gradually replace its 67,000 petrol-powered taxis with greener new energy vehicles to help reduce air pollution starting from this year, according to China.org.cn.
The plan is contained in a discussion document on preventing and solving air pollution problems in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei Region and neighboring provinces, which was issued on February 14.
All petrol-and diesel-powered taxis being taken out of service would need to be replaced by electric vehicles or liquid petroleum gas (LPG) powered cars. Any vehicles that taxi companies plan to buy should be electric or other types of new energy cars.
It is estimated the market size would reach 9 billion yuan (about 1,309 million USD) if all the taxis in Beijing were replaced by electric vehicles or natural-gas-powered vehicles, according to National Business Daily.
The plan to replace Beijing’s taxi fleet with electric vehicles have two drawbacks, says Liu Tao from the Beijing Taxi Cum Automotive Leasing Association.
One, purchasing a petrol powered vehicle would cost between 60,000 yuan (about 8,725 USD) to 70,000 yuan (about 10,179 USD), but an electric vehicle would cost about 140,000 yuan (about 20,359 USD), Liu said.
Two, it is not easy for green powered taxis to compete with traditionally powered ones at present, due to concerns over longer time needed on charging, limited mileage of electric vehicles and there are not enough charging stations for the hundreds of electric taxis already in service in the capitol city. Drivers often have to wait hours to get access to a charger.
“There are 200 electric taxis on the streets of Tongzhou in Beijing, but only about 100 are on the road, while the other 100 are waiting to be charged,” a driver told business newspaper Caixin.