• Tue
  • Dec 23, 2014
  • Updated: 1:33am
NewsHong Kong

Hybrid taxis set to hit Hong Kong's roads early next year

Vehicles that run on both petrol and electricity, emitting fewer fumes and charging their own batteries, could be on city's roads in February

PUBLISHED : Friday, 07 December, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 07 December, 2012, 8:02am


  • Yes: 46%
  • No: 54%
7 Dec 2012
  • Yes
  • No
Total number of votes recorded: 391

Hybrid taxis that run on both petrol and electricity and emit less exhaust fumes could be on the road as early as February.

Crown Motors, sole distributor for main taxi supplier Toyota, said it was talking to the Transport Department about its plan.

It had received orders for 20 cars, which would be ready to for use before the Lunar New Year.

The announcement came three months after Nissan said it planned to introduce 50 Leaf electric vehicles for trial as taxis early next year.

Crown Motors' general manager for public vehicles, Ernest Wong Sai-kit, said the company had been preparing for the hybrid taxi launch for a year and its plan was unrelated to Nissan's.

"Hybrid cars do not need to be recharged, which we believe fits cabbies' habits best," he said.

"The greatest challenge of using electric cars as cabs is that drivers will have to spend time charging their taxis."

Toyota said in 2008 that its hybrid cars were not intended for commercial use, but David Lee Kai-cheung, of Crown Motors, said experience had shown the cars fitted the purpose.

The Prius was being used in taxi fleets in many major cities, including Tokyo, Sydney, Paris and Toronto, and drivers should not be worried about its performance and durability, he said.

A hybrid car charges its own batteries while it is running.

When it is starting or moving slowly, it uses only the electric motor, consuming no petrol. As it does not rely on petrol all the time, emissions are reduced.

A 1,788cc hybrid taxi, before tax, will cost HK$269,000, which is HK$18,000 more than a regular LPG taxi. A litre of LPG costs about HK$5.22, while petrol costs HK$16.97. Although a hybrid car can travel further on the same amount of fuel, it is still 13 cents more expensive to run per kilometre than an LPG cab.

Wong said that the company was co-operating with Caltex petrol stations to offer a HK$3-a-litre discount on petrol for hybrid taxi drivers until the end of next year, and might extend the plan after that.

Lai Hoi-ping, of the Hong Kong Taxi Association, which represents owners of 800 urban taxis, said he believed electric taxis would be the most environmentally friendly and fuel would be the cheapest.

Wong Wing-chung, of the Northwestern Area Taxi Drivers and Operators Association, said he was worried about the durability of the engines on hybrid cars.


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This article is now closed to comments

Harold Cameron
Thought Europe hybrid buses are becoming common. Surely it's time the three main bus companies at least tried them out.
To encourage cleaner transport, there ought to be some discount given. In Shenzhen, I think it is RMB 3 for each trip.
That's not correct. Shenzhen doesn't have hybrid taxis, only conventional and all-electric taxis.
You have to pay a fuel surcharge on top of the meter price when taking a conventional taxi. The amount is about 2-3 RMB and depends on the price the cabbies have to pay at the fuel station. It is thought to help the taxi drivers pay for the higher fuel prices without having to go through the complicated procedure of approving new meter prices. If you take an all-electric taxi you obviously won't have to pay fuel surcharge.
HK should introduce all-electric taxis on HK island. The area is small enough to make them feasible.
While I agree that HK island is small, the area is too hilly for all-electric taxis.
Great "progress"! From LPG back to gasoline plus electricity from coal fired power plants. Well, I am sure Crown Motors will be happy!
The question in today's public Poll ( "Should electric or hybrid taxis charge lower fares than regular ones to encourage more people to take them?") has got to be the dumbest one ever thought of. The suggestion that a cleaner but operationally more expensive form of public transport should be discounted is absolute nonsense as well as being totally impracticable!
Who writes this crxx?
Maybe a Carbon Tax, or Green House tax, and an EMISSION tax (as suggested by Clear The Air & Clean Air Network) should be put on all taxis, and vehicles. But then, most dumb locals are just selfish and don't care about the environment, or the air we breath!
People driving cars are already taxed enough at it is. Buying a car costs you more in taxes than most residents pay in salaries tax their whole working life.
The government should finally allow clean diesel engines and extend the EFC (Environment-friendly Petrol Private Cars) to diesel cars. Some small diesel engines in Europe are ready for EURO 6 and consume about 6L or less. Why can't we get those in HK? Why does almost every dealership only offer engines greater than 3.5l ? Look at all the big V8 engines out there, complete overkill in Hong Kong.
mrgoodcat, your opening sentence (above) is simply not true. The greatest tax that many pay in Hong Kong is the grotesque land premium to buy a small concrete box which government and developers have the cheek to describe as a “flat”. The tax per square foot of usable flat space far exceeds the taxes paid by car owners for the equivalent amount of road space occupied when they drive their vehicles or park on public roads. Moreover flat purchasers pay the full construction costs, while the car owner has the benefit of using free highways and associated traffic infrastructure built from public funds generated by the flat buyers (the Capital Account derived from land premiums) . Flat owners are subsidizing private vehicle owners.
Does this mean taxis that now consume LPG will go back to petrol? Taxis are not the problem in any case: buses and heavy diesel vehicles are the problem.


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