UK: 50 electric BYD e6 to be shipped in for use as London taxis
* See how the BYD e6 has fared so far in China by clicking on the title! *
Chinese manufacturer BYD has signed a Memorandum of Understanding to create London’s first fleet of all-electric minicabs with London taxi company Greentomatocars, previously known for its fleet of Toyota Prius. It is expected that 50 all-electric BYD e6 will be shipped to the UK early next year and will merge with the existing fleet of London taxis from the second quarter of 2013. The e6 has a range of 240 km and can be quick charged to 100% capacity in 20 minutes. All units will feature Wi-Fi and access to social networks like Facebook and Twitter, as well as a location map that users can check at any time.
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The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “It is my aim that London’s minicabs and taxis will be zero-emission by 2020, which will have a major impact on air quality. Encouraging more electric vehicles is a key part of this transformation, so it is great news that Greentomatocars has committed to operating 50 of these super clean machines from next year.”
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After announcing mass production of electric cars back in 2009, BYD has since refocused its energy towards fleet sales and this London contract is the most recent example of this strategy. The BYD e6 first hit the roads in May 2010 when a similar fleet of 40 taxis started running in Shenzhen, China, operated by BYD’s subsidiary Pengcheng Electric Taxi Co. The expansion to 100 announced at the start of the program did not take place, as 50 cars ended up being used.
BYD says its e6 taxis have already driven a total of more than 14 million miles in key global markets, however I couldn’t find any other locations in the world apart from Shenzhen where the e6 is currently used as a taxi.
BYD provided a fleet of 10 e6 to the Los Angeles City Housing Authority in 2010, and Hertz announced they could bring the e6 into their rental fleet before the end of 2012. The municipality of Rotterdam acquired its first e6 in June 2011 but no news as to whether the fleet was expanded. In June 2011 BYD signed an agreement with Singapore’s SMRT to offer the e6 as taxi but there hasn’t been anything published in the press since.
e6 sales in China have been limited to the Shenzhen region so far as it is the only location with an adequate network of charging stations. After one year of use as taxi only, model was made available to private buyers in October 2011. 401 units found a buyer in the Full Year 2011, making the e6 #252. Over the first 9 months of 2012 a total of 895 e6 were sold in China, placing the model at #260, including 90 in September alone (#248).