Home Topics in Depth Science And Environment China Plans To Replace All 70,000 Beijing Taxis With Electric Cars

  • leftcoastmountains (3073 posts)
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    China Plans To Replace All 70,000 Beijing Taxis With Electric Cars

    Taxis are the bane of all urban areas. Typically, they are poorly made, poorly maintained, and spew tons of carbon dioxide into the air every day as they shuttle people from place to place. Beijing has nearly 70,000 taxis. It also has an intractable problem with smog. While it has embarked on an aggressive program to encourage private citizens to buy what it calls “new energy vehicles” — hybrids, plug-in hybrids, and battery operated cars — that push has not made much of an impact on the taxi fleet in China’s capitol. Now it has announced a plan to replace all 67,000 fossil fueled taxis in the city with electric cars.

    The changeover won’t happen right away. It begins with a mandate that any new taxis placed in service must be electric but that means it could be a decade or more before all older vehicles are replaced. The project is expected to cost taxi operators $1.3 billion before it is complete. The entry level fossil fueled cars in use today cost about $10,000. Equivalent electric cars cost twice as much.


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  • HIP56948 (2976 posts)
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    1. We could do that! Naw, we'd have give up a fighter jet or two.

    Hey, We need those jets!  I mean, other countries are attacking us?

  • ThouArtThat (5422 posts)
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    2. But, But – Their Communists – Only America Can Be Great Again – 45 Says So


    "In America Today, Power Corrupts and Money Corrupts Absolutely" - Anonymous  
  • NV Wino (5133 posts)
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    3. Well, that's a step forward.

    Resist-sm_zpswfchkz8t “As we act, let us not become the evil that we deplore.” Barbara Lee  
  • happyslug (306 posts)
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    4. The real question, is can electrics do the job?

    Electric Vehicles are improving in duration and charging, but they still are limited in duration before needing to be recharged AND speed of recharging.


    Chevy’s Bolt gets the best range of any electric today, at 238 miles.   Tesla can go 237 miles between charges, but both are small cars with limited space:


    the Bolt has only 95 Cubic Feet of space in its passenger compartment. with another 17 Cubic feet behind the rear seat under its hatch back:


    Compare that to a Ford Taurus with 102 Cubic Feet and a 20 Cublic foot trunk.


    All of these are small compared to the old Checker Cabs of my youth:


    Batteries also take up space, a good comparison is the Chevy Cruze and Volt, they are built on the same frame and body and share many componets, but the Cruze is a conventional compact car, while the volt is a Hybrid.  The Cruze has a passenger volume of 94 Cubic Feet compared to the 90 Cubic Feet of the Volt, and the trunk for the Volt is where the battery is stored (You have a trunk with the Volt but smaller then the Cruze).


    Now, I do not know what they are using in China, but most cabs world wide tend to be large cars, not the Compact cars like the Bolt, Volt and Cruze (the EPA says the Cruze is a “mid size” car, for its interior volume puts it in the mid size range as set by the EPA).

    I bring this up for Range is very important to taxi drivers.  Taxi Drivers try to be on the road at least eight hours every day (and the cab itself my be on the road longer, cab drivers can take shifts on the same cab).  Eight hours time 30 miles per hour is 240 miles.  Thus you are at the limit of the Bolt today at 30 mph. If you increase the speed OR spend more time at stops with other items running in the car, you are looking at less then eight hours before you need to recharge.

    In 1999 New York City saw its last Checker cab retired, with 21 years of service and 994,050 miles on it.  That is 47,336 miles a year or 130 miles a day (and that is EVERY Day of the year).   Please note that is the AVERAGE including days the cab was in the shop, remember it lasted 21 years, there is no way it was on the street 365 days a year, 260 days is more like it (52 weeks, 5 days a week, which if this cab was operated only 5 days a week for 52 weeks a year come to 180 miles per day).   Cabs are often operated 200 or more miles a day, some do 500 miles.  I mention this to point out how much use these cabs incur.


    Please note the EPA range guidelines use gradual acceleration and deceleration, which is unlike how most people drive.  Thus EPA guidelines are considered High, but they are the best number we have for comparison purposes.

    Side note: I remember the time between the 1973 Oil Embargo and the adoption of the EPA mileage guidelines.  I remember seeing an ad saying a full size car went over 25 mpg.  The ad did not say it was on a downhill slope with the driver turning the engine off and drifting as far as he could, then restarting the engine, get up to about 25 mph and shut down the engine and drift some more.  Those ads were so misleading that Congress say everyone will use the EPA mileage numbers.  You will NOT get what the EPA says, but all cars are tested the same way so a good way to compare different autos knowing no auto gets the numbers listed by the EPA (But a Auto getting a EPA of 25 mpg will get better mileage then an auto getting an EPA of 24 mpg).

    Anyway, the issue of Chinese Cabs and electrification. The big improvements tends to be at the beginning of any change, then you get into lower gains.  Lithium Batteries were a huge increase in energy storage but it has reached close to its max rate and while we have some promising alternatives, most are just incremental improves over Lithium.   Thus 238 range may be close to the max, unless we look at a bigger battery (and less room for passengers).

    The other concern is recharging time.  The higher the voltage, the quicker the charge.  The problem is real quick charges take a very high voltage.

    A rough guideline is if using 120 volt input (Normal household service), you get 4 miles of range per hour of charging.  240 Volts (High end, electric stoves dryers etc) gets you 8 miles per hour of charging.

    Quick chargers at a service station get you 100 miles per hour of charge, a huge improvement from using 120 volt or 240 volts input, but still takes an hour:


    I see cab owners shifting to quick chargers for their cabs, they can NOT keep them out of service that long.   Most will want to charge at night, but demands for cabs tend to run from 6:00 am to midnight (and later hours on Fridays and Saturdays).  Thus charging with a quick charger can solve the problem of making sure the car is charged for the morning rush hour, but what about after the evening rush hour? After 6:00 am, most cabs tend to be busy or waiting for a call.  If waiting for a call, they can charge they cab, but if they are charging their cab and a car comes in, their either have to give up the call OR cut off the charge early.

    I bring up the above two problems for they are REAL but can be addressed.  Cab companies can have charge stations where they wait for customers (This is already done on at least one bus lines that uses rechargeable batteries).  It will cost some money to install the chargers, but in the long run it will be worth it for the cab companies.  An alternative way is to have the government install the chargers and charge a fee based on how much electricity is used.   Thus more the one cab company can use the same charger when it comes to a hot spot for cabs.

    This brings up the final problem with this plan, how is the electricity is to be produced? If it is by burning coal, which China is big into right now, then any benefit of the electric cars will be off set by the increase pollution from burning coal.    Thus electric cars should be a good thing, if it means more coal being burned all the good disappears.

    I hope the Chinese get this right, reduce oil usage by electric cabs and reduce coal by adopting alternative sources of electric generation (Solar and wind would be best) but I fear the worse, electric Cars powered by electricity produced by burning coal.