This is way cool!
As the world’s great cities put their electric taxi rollout plans into effect under Bloomberg’s leadership, they are starting to look at our Tokyo Electric Taxi Project, which we launched last April to demonstrate switchable-battery EVs in the marketplace for the first time. Recently extended for an additional three months, the project shows how EVs – and electric taxis in particular – can make a major impact in terms of reducing emissions. In Tokyo, for example, taxis make up only 2% of passenger vehicles, but are responsible for 20% of the city’s transport emissions. And here in the host city of Hong Kong, transportation creates 50% of the ground level pollution with taxis and light delivery vehicles alone accounting for more than half of that.
By electrifying our cities’ taxis, we not only take a chunk out of harmful emissions, but also deliver a fast, silent, efficient – almost futuristic – way to travel. Having clocked over 25,000 miles during the demonstration so far, 97% of passengers reported a very positive experience, and 73% said that when they ride a taxi, they want it to be electric. As Bloomberg points out, starting with the taxi segment maximizes the number of people who can experience the future of transportation and get them primed to adopt EVs themselves.
Now, C40 is watching switchable-battery electric taxis come to the San Francisco Bay Area to cement the region as the EV capital of the U.S. Seeing the success of the project in Tokyo – both in terms of emissions reduction and quality of life – the U.S. Department of Transportation (via the Metropolitan Transportation Commission “MTC”) awarded us a major grant to help us launch the U.S. taxi project. After analyzing a variety of proposals, the MTC decided on the Better Place approach based on its ability to move the needle the most on emissions reduction, mentioning that the application scored the highest marks of all filings.
The C40 meeting is now winding down in this Asian business hub, the center of a region from which many next-generation transportation solutions will emerge. As the mayors from the world’s greatest cities prepare to depart, I am eager to see how their experiences here translate into policy and action at home.