September 9th, 2012
Here’s an interesting Weibo post from the Beijing Municipal Commission of Transport. It’s about improvements to public transport in Fangshan District and the claim that stands out to me is that 100 electric taxis have entered trial operations. Pity it doesn’t give any detail about the pictured taxi, but I presume it’s one of the 100 electric taxis.
A Baidu news search for “北京市房山区电动出租车” brings up this article from August 24 reporting that Fangshan’s Chang’an car production base hopes to sign a contract to produce clean energy vehicles, all of which will be used in demonstration operations of electric taxis in all of Beijing’s districts and counties. If signed, this would be the plant’s first big contract since the July 21 floods, which damaged the plant, and would see the plant’s clean energy vehicle production line put into regular operation. It does confirm that the first 100 electric taxis were put into trial operation in Fangshan District. Investigations have shown that each electric taxi can run at least 180 – 200 km per day and the drivers’ net monthly income can reach over 4000 yuan. Each trial district and county may get it’s own charging station, but the cars can also be charged using the regular civilian 220V power supply. The dashboard of each car has a charge indicator, and a warning light comes on when the charge drops to 20%, at which point the car can drive another 20 – 30 km, allowing the driver to find a place to charge up.
A bit more searching turns up this piece from April on the Fangshan government site confirming that the electric taxis are Chang’an E30s.
All I can say is I hope they signed the contract. It would be great to see more electric vehicles around, and using them as taxis seems like a great way to test and further develop the technology, allowing engineers to adapt taxi companies’ usual management systems to gather data on the vehicle’s performance and test out improved and new technologies.