Electric vehicles

Shenzhen offers new incentives to boost switch to electric taxis

PUBLISHED : Friday, 24 April, 2015, 2:49pm
UPDATED : Friday, 24 April, 2015, 3:18pm

More than a quarter of Shenzhen’s 15,000 petrol-engined taxis will be replaced with electric vehicles this year, the city government said, after it announced subsidies to kick start a five-year-old project.

The government launched the electric taxi project in 2010, but progress has been slow because of concerns about the availability of charging stations and the duration of charging and safety.

Under the new subsidy scheme, the government sees 4,000 more electric taxis on the road by the end of the year, adding to the 850 currently in use.

The Nanfang Daily reported that taxi operators in the city who replace their cabs with new electric vehicles will receive subsidies of up to 192,800 yuan (US$31,100) for each taxi.

All the electric taxis now in use are E6 vehicles made by Chinese carmaker BYD, which is partly owned by Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway.

A new e6 cab costs about 300,000 yuan while a new petrol taxi costs between 100,000 and 120,000 yuan.

The city’s transport commission did not say which electric car bands would be included in the subsidy plan, but they must have a driving range of over 250 km. Among Chinese domestic brands, only the E6 meets that requirement.

Last year, a total of 3,560 E6 cars were sold in China.

As a further incentive, the commission will offer extra 10-year operating licences to taxi companies replacing petrol-powered vehicles, depending on how many vehicles are exchanged. Operators replacing 300 vehicles at one time will get 15 of the new long licences, while those replacing 1,500 will get 225 licences.

Taxi licences in Shenzhen can sell for up to 1 million yuan on the city’s informal trading market.

The commission also said it would set up over 1,200 charging places across the city.

China’s transport ministry had said in March it aimed to add 200,000 buses and 100,000 taxis powered by alternative fuels by 2020. Many Chinese cities are plagued by heavy pollution, in part due to the rapid rise in the number of vehicles on the roads.

The China Association of Automobile Manufacturers reported that 5,996 electric vehicles were sold in January and February of this year, 4.2 times the number sold during the same period last year.

Another 6,444 hybrid vehicles were sold during those two months, 2.2 times more than the same period last year.