Operators flirt with idea of electric taxis

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 26 July, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 26 July, 2012, 12:00am


The Environmental Protection Department said it had approved a total of HK$11 million for five electric taxis and two electric buses.

Four taxi operators will be subsidised by the government to import five electric cabs for a two-year trial this year.

New Territories Taxi Operations Union chairman Chan Shu-sang said he and the other three operators had started negotiations with Italian car company Fiat. They would like changes in the taxi design and also trial runs in Hong Kong.

Currently, the cars can travel only 200 kilometres before recharging.

Chan said the capacity should be increased to 280 kilometres so local drivers would need to charge their cabs only once during a 10-hour shift. Charging takes about 45 minutes. Each electric taxi would cost HK$1.28 million - as opposed to HK$240,000 for a traditional cab.

'With electric taxis, drivers can save about HK$200 on daily fuel costs,' Chan said. Four charging facilities would be built in Sha Tin, Yuen Long, Sheung Shui and at the airport at Chek Lap Kok.

Erin Song, a Form Six student from YMCA of Hong Kong Christian College, thinks that electric taxis are no better than regular cars.

'They might even be worse [for the environment] because all power sources start with coal and even if it is electric they'll need to burn fossil fuels to power the car,' Erin said.

'I'd rather have a solar-powered car or a naturally powered car than a car that runs on electricity.'