67,000 Taxis in China Will Convert From Fossil Fuels To Electric Motors
Taxis are a means of transportation for people in cities where the conventional public transportation is overburdened or unproductive. There are also some cultural factors involved here, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves here. In China, and most notably, its capital city of Beijing, is one of the most pollutant in the world. Every year there are dozens of smog alerts of life-threatening magnitude which can go as many as 10 times over the limit determined by the World Health Organization.
So, in order to tackle this problem, the Chinese government is taking tremendous strides into cutting down on fossil fuel emissions. For instance, China is currently the world leader in renewable sources of energy production and has plans of installing a fast train that zips through the huge metropolis.
Another measure was taken recently where some 67,000 out of the 71,000 taxis in Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei will have to convert from fossil fuel engines to electric ones. The timeframe in which this needs to happen is unknown as of yet, but it will be gradual and the whole deal will cost the taxi companies some $1.3 billion. In order to move things along, the Chinese government will also lend a hand here.
As some of us know, China is also the largest producer of electric vehicles in the world with over 400,000 units sold in 2016. By 2020, the government wants to have five million electric vehicles on its streets by offering subsidies that can amount to more than 70% of the total cost of the car. But these subsidies have made some room for instances of fraud. And with 200 EV companies in China, many of which have appeared in just the past five years, some don’t meet the quality guidelines to compete with the likes of Tesla or General Motors. This is why, as of January 2017, the subsidies at the local government level have been capped at 50%.
“In the long term, this is going to help the industry to develop in a healthy way, but in the short term it’ll put pressure on even the big manufacturers,” Ka Leong Lo, Hong Kong-based analyst at Maybank Kim Eng Securities, told China Daily.
“The reason the ministry is putting a cap on local government subsidies is mainly because it wants to weed out frauds.”
But even with this cap in mind, taxis shouldn’t have a tremendously hard time in changing their fleet of cars. The biggest challenge, however, is the lack of a charging infrastructure. In 2014, for instance, only 200 electric cabs were added to the Beijing fleet of taxis and the drivers complained of the queues formed at the charging stations that could last even as long as six hours. If this plan should ever come to fruition and 67,000 taxis should be converted to electric engines, then Beijing will need to add 100 times as many charging stations than it has now.
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