May 20th, 2011
So as it turns out, it’s actually old news, dating back to March 1 this year, but nobody had told me, I hadn’t seen them in the news, and I saw them ‘in the flesh’ for the first last weekend – and then was too busy this week to follow up on them.
Yanqing County has electric taxis. Purely electric, that is, none of these half-arsed hybrid jobbies. The real thing.
So late last Friday afternoon as we were on our way out to the village we pulled up at the back of a queue at a red light – from memory, at the north end of Nancaiyuan, the last traffic light before the Gui River on the way in to the county town from the Badaling direction. We were waiting to turn left and scoot along the south bank of the river before crossing the new little bridge and zipping along the back road, a much shorter route than the old G110, although it is becoming more and more popular, unfortunately. And just up ahead of us in the queue was a taxi.
That’s not unusual. A lot of people from Yanqing work as taxi drivers in Beijing and many of them pay for their trips home working the queue for the 919 rounding up people who would rather pay a little extra than wait for the bus. But this was an entirely different kind of taxi. It was in a pale blue and white livery of an entirely different pattern from the regular Beijing taxi livery, for starters. More importantly, instead of the usual Citroen ZX, VW Jetta or Hyundai Elantra or any of their larger cousins, this was an entirely new vehicle (well, to my eyes), the same basic shape as your traditional London cab, but clearly a new design. And with Beijing licence plates and signs clearly identifying it with Yanqing, it obviously wasn’t one of those occasional taxis that floats in from Hebei or Tianjin. And then I was told, “Oh, these new taxis are all electric”. Indeed, they move with only the faintest of electric motor whining sounds. And having spent a bit of time around the county town last weekend, and again this morning, I’ve seen a lot of them around.
Well, there should be 50 of them, Foton according to the article linked to above, which also informs us:
据了解，迷迪纯电动出租车最大输出功率６０千瓦，百公里耗电１５千瓦时，在城市正常路面满电续航里程为１４０公里。采用快速充电桩半小时可充满８０％的电 量。按照北京市出租车年平均行驶１０万公里计算，对比燃油车，每年在花费上可节省３万余元，并且每辆纯电动车减少的二氧化碳相当于每年种植１１００多棵 树。
Most of that is covered in this article, which is the best I’ve found in English so far:
As introduced, the Midi electric taxis are self-developed by Beiqi-Foton, BAIC’s commercial vehicle arm, and have a peak output power of 60 kW and an electric consumption of 15 kWh per 100 km each. All the vehicles are equipped with a Global Positioning System (GPS) which is connected to the company’s control center where the taxis can be scheduled and monitored.
Currently, a charging station installed with 25 charging poles with a floor area of 2,205 square meters has been built at Yanqing. By using a magnetic card for self-charging, it takes six to eight hours for the taxi to be fully charged in a slow charging mode but a half-hour of quick charging can electrify the car to 80 percent.
But those two articles diverge on their approach to cost, with the Chinese one pointing out that based on the average Beijing taxi running 100 thousand kilometres per year, the electric taxis can save over 30 thousand yuan in expenses and provide a reduction in CO2 emissions equivalent to planting 1100 trees per year.
The Chinese article is better in that it places Yanqing’s electric taxis in the context of Beijing’s plan to push new energy vehicles:
According to Beijing Municipality’s “Green movement plan”, by 2012, will have 5000 new energy vehicles in demonstration use in fields such as public transport, environmental protection and taxis, and will encourage enterprises to set up “green fleets” for transportation, forming a 30 thousand-strong goods distribution “green fleet” by 2012. At the same time, Beijing will encourage private citizens to buy new energy vehicles, with the highest subsidy per vehicle being 120 thousand yuan.
According to reports, in the next 3 years Beijing will build 36,000 slow-charging electricity poles, 100 fast-charging recharging stations, 1 battery replacement station and 2 battery recycling processing stations.
And to that, all I can say is: