In a bid to offer its citizens a more economical and sustainable alternative in public transportation, the Brazilian city of Canoas has recently started testing the BYD e6 BEV as taxi. Canoas is a municipality located in the metropolitan region of Porto Alegre – the capital of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil’s southernmost state – and it will be the first city in the state to test a pure electric vehicle with its public transportation fleet. In this October, BYD delivered the vehicle in a ceremony with the Mayor, other city transportation authorities and taxi drivers. The BYD e6 will be assessed for a period of up to 60 days. The BYD e6 already integrates taxi fleets in several cities worldwide, chiefly the Chinese city of Shenzhen (with a fleet of 850 taxis, the biggest worldwide), Campinas (São Paulo, Brazil), Montevideo, Bogota, London, Brussels, San Diego, New York, San Francisco and Chicago.
The adoption of the electric taxi is aligned with the municipality’s sustainability policies, and there are plans to extend electrification to mass public transport and the fleet that serves the city hall. “Nowadays it is impossible to carry on depending on fossil fuels to power our transport system; we have to quickly migrate to electric cars and buses. Our idea is to develop elevated bus lanes on which all lines will operate with electric buses. That will enable us to have 100% of our public transportation suited to a sustainable model. We are also planning to have our whole municipal fleet using this clean energy” stated Jairo Jorge, the mayor of Canoas.
Taxi drivers will be able to purchase the vehicles through a five to six-year operational leasing system. Leasing installments correspond to the costs saved from fuel and maintenance expenses that the drivers would have with conventional vehicles. “This vehicle saves between 85% and 90% of conventional energy consumption. The cost of one kilometer run with a conventional car is R$ 0.20 (around 5 cents of a dollar), and with the electric car the cost plunges to R$ 0.04 (around 1 cent of a dollar). If a taxi driver spends R$ 3,000 (around US$ 775) a month on fuel, with an electric car they will spend around R$ 300 (about US$ 78). These savings are enough to pay off the leasing “, said Adalberto Maluf, BYD’s Director of Marketing Government Relations in Brazil.
After the ceremony, the city’s taxi drivers met with representatives of the City Hall and BYD, and their first impression was strikingly positive: “This may translate into vital savings for our survival. With today’s high fuel prices, our operation is becoming unfeasible. This car’s cost-benefit seems to be worth it. Now we need to get to know the car better by trying it out in the street, but so far we’re quite pleased with what we’ve seen.” Said Sérgio Oliveira, President of the Taxi Driver Union in Canoas.
The e6 is a five-seat crossover sedan with a driving range of 300km on a full charge, and maximum charging time is about six hours. Its maximum speed is 140 km/h and it reaches 60 km/h in 7.9 seconds. Additionally to the long range Iron-Phosphate batteries, the vehicle features regenerative braking, which generates energy every time the brakes are used. Another advantage is that the vehicle – when fully charged – can serve for five days as an alternative power outlet for a household consuming an average of 12kWh per day. The batteries are BYD’s proprietary technology and have a lifetime of 30 to 40 years. The e6 started testing in China in 2010, with 40 units operating in the city of Shenzhen, and sales began in October 2011. Up to June 2015, over 5,500 units of the vehicle had been sold in China, where its price is subsidized by the government, in order to curtail gas emissions and curb pollution levels.