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Thread: What would it take to convert Taxis in Hong Kong?

  1. #1
    Moderator, Asia Pacific markwj's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Hong Kong

    What would it take to convert Taxis in Hong Kong?

    A few years ago they converted all (ok 99%+) the Taxis in Hong Kong from Diesel to LPG. Across the border in China, they are already using EV taxis, but seem to rely on very crude battery swap technology (China's E-taxis Have Trouble Gearing Up | Wall Street Daily).

    What would it take to convert Taxis in Hong Kong (and other similar small-sized cities) to EVs?

    Here are some numbers from a discussion on this subject (after he saw my Roadster parked in my driveway) with a Hong Kong Taxi driver:

    1. The driver had no idea how much he drove a day, or of distances in general. He thought about 100km to get around Hong Kong (it is actually more like 160-200km).

    2. His Taxi was 4 months old, and had 40,000km on the odometer. That is 10,000km a month, or about 333km a day.

    3. He pays about HK$10,000 a month on fuel.

    4. He works a fifteen hour shift, usually 7 days a week, 8am to midnight (plus breaks, I assume), with the car parked overnight. Some taxis in Hong Kong are 'shared' and run almost 24x7, but most (according to him) are left parked overnight. Kind of makes sense, as there are an order of magnitude more taxis on the road during the day than at night.

    5. The car itself costs about HK$300,000. The taxi license costs more than HK$4,000,000.

    Based on those numbers, it is really borderline viable today. HK$120,000 a year on LPG would reduce to perhaps HK$30,000 on electricity, saving HK$90,000 a year. But, needing at least 400km range with their kind of driving would be tough to do today. With 120,000km a year on the odometer, that is a very large number of charge/discharge cycles on the battery and seems dubious for longevity.

    I suspect the numbers in Singapore, and most similarly sized cities would be equivalent.

    The taxis themselves are pretty simple 5 seat sedans:

  2. #2
    Moderator Aus/NZ meloccom's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Sydney Australia
    Better place has announced an MOU with Cherry and I think HK would be the perfect Place for one of the pilot projects. Ring your local representative.
    China progress | Better Place
    Last edited by meloccom; 2011-10-03 at 10:41 PM. Reason: Insert link

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Hong Kong
    I thought this was an interesting article about EV taxis in Hong Kong, and the problems they are having with getting acceptance from other Taxi Drivers:

    Time Out Hong Kong | Big Smog | Are electric taxis an electric dream?

    #1) The lack of charging stations.
    #2) The lost time waiting for charging.

    I know some of these Taxi drivers count their seconds and try to maximize the amount of time they have in order maximize the number of customers they get during their shift. If they have a 2 hour downtime, that's definitely some lost revenue.

    I do see the occasional hybrid driving around, but it's pretty rare. I have yet to get a ride in one.

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