Are Electric Taxis The Perfect Idea?
The idea of turning a congested and polluted city over to electric taxis certainly sounds appealing but can electric taxis muster what their conventional gasoline cars endure on a daily base? While it is thought so, there are limits that will be addressed at some point or another.
New York City Turns To New Leafs. New York City has worked on its pollution problem since the 1970s when it realized its smog levels were rising to alarming levels. There were various push towards cleaner inner city transportation but the most notable these past decades were hybrid buses. Yet the irresistible idea of using electric cars as taxis makes much sense, at least on paper. Sure, the mile driven on electricity is usually a third, if not a half of the gasoline equivalent but the real question is how far and how long to recharge.
Fast Charge Versus Level 2. Although the jury is still out on the long-term effects of fast charging electric cars often your daily taxi drivers would need to that considering how many miles they put on. To do the same with an electric car, you would need to juice up a few times a day with a fast charger. Level 2 is the ideal way to recharge lithium batteries so far but it takes a long time. Bigger onboard chargers as Renault has done in Europe is the way to go as charging technology allows for even higher speeds.
Osaka’s Cold Winters. I’ve lived in Kyoto, a city 40 mn from Osaka and can attest to the incredibly torrid summer hot and humid days, only matched by their stellar opposite winters extremely cold and humid days. For those still on the fence as to the negative effects of constant fast charging, the taxi drivers in Osaka can tell you that it doesn’t work quite as well. The Leaf Taxis experiment started very positive but after the Fikushima nuclear disaster, things changed quickly. Adding to the this, the battery range after almost two years of intense multiple and daily recharges have taken its toll on the taxis. Most of them only about a 33 mile range left in them, making driving in the winter an issue with the inside heat drain.
As with anything, there is a right tool for the right situation and winter driving with regular daily fast charging is not going to spell good news on any batteries, cell phone, cameras and electric cars. In this case, the original idea of battery swapping by Better Place would make most sense.
Altogether, is this is just another growing pain for the electric car market or will it learn to outgrow its obstacles?