Beijing’s petrol-powered taxis will soon be a thing of the past. Starting this year, the capital will begin replacing the thousands of high-polluting taxis with greener, more energy-efficient vehicles.
The new measure, which was announced on February 14, is just another step in the attempt to combat smog in the heavily polluted Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region.
According to the new plan, all taxis that use petrol and diesel will be slowly taken out of commission. They will be replaced with either electric cars or vehicles that use liquid petroleum gas (LPG). LPG vehicles burn cleaner than those powered by petrol. It is also argued that they emit lower levels of CO2, a major pollutant in Beijing.
According to the new measure, all taxi companies in Beijing will now have to purchase vehicles that use some sort of new energy, CCTV reports.
Although the new plan sounds good, it will likely face quite a few obstacles.
There are currently 71,000 taxis driving around the streets of Beijing, and 67,000 of them are powered by petrol and diesel.
Due to the sheer number of taxis in the capital, the act of replacing all of them with greener, more energy-efficient vehicles will be costly. The estimated cost of replacing every taxi in Beijing is RMB9 billion (roughly USD1.3 million).
Electric vehicles are substantially more expensive than gas-powered cars. On average, traditional cars cost anywhere between RMB60,000 to RMB70,000 (USD10,179). However, an electric vehicle can put buyers back roughly RMB140,000 (USD20,359).
There are also concerns that electric vehicles are less lucrative than traditional taxis. Some taxi drivers in Beijing have reported that it can take up to six hours to fully charge a battery – and that’s after waiting in extremely long lines to do so. Driving times are also limited to anywhere between 60 to 240 kilometers (depending on conditions and car models) in electric vehicles.
[Image via auto gmw]