On December 11, 2015, green tech giant BYD Company Ltd. launched Chile’s first 100% electric taxi fleet in the country’s capital, Santiago. They’re 3 zero-emission taxis model e6 specially designed for passenger transport. The taxis are operating in Santiago as regular taxis and are part of the first environmental mitigation action by the Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Action (NAMA) Green Zone project.
Global warming has brought about important challenges for all important capitals around the globe, particularly in sustainable mobility. This recent commitment prompts large automakers to focus their efforts on developing sustainable and efficient solutions to tackle such challenges, as in this case, with multinational BYD launching Chile’s first electric taxi fleet with 3 vehicles whose performance has been successfully proven in Asia, Europe and Latin America. The vehicles are certified by the Vehicle Control and Certification Center (3CV) of the Ministry of Transport.
The BYD e6 taxis are equipped with the company’s proprietary Iron-Phosphate battery, a fire-safe, completely recyclable and stable battery that grants the vehicle lengthened driving ranges. The batteries require no maintenance and their capacity is 61.4 kWh, and the price of 1 kWh in Chile is around 100 Chilean pesos ($0.14 USD), meaning that it would cost approximately 6,400 Chilean pesos ($9 USD) to fully charge. However, in order to support the testing, Chilectra – a Chilean energy provider – will supply free electricity to these three taxis for the first year. The vehicles can carry up to 5 passengers. It takes 2 hours to fully charge and empty battery. The taxis fully comply with safety standards and feature 90 kW (121 Hp) motor power, 450 N.m torque, two front airbags, automatic transmission, traction control, stability control, front and rear proximity sensors and smart key. Additional power generation is achieved through regenerative braking. The electric motor attached to the wheels eliminate the need for conventional mechanic components and make the vehicle especially cost-effective by to saving in maintenance and spare parts. In the short term its efficiency represents savings up to 60%.
The electric taxi project was launched by BYD Chile SpA who coordinated and organized the lending of the three e6 – owned by Indumotora and Chilectra – to taxi operators for 1 year with the purpose of testing the technology and generating data. Chilectra also supported the initiative by providing the free electricity for the taxis. The event had the participation of Chile’s Minister of Transport and Telecommunications, Andrés Gómez-Lobo, the Regional Secretary of Ministry of Transport (SEREMIT), Matías Salazar, Mayor of Santiago Carolina Tohá, and The Minister of Environment, Pablo Badeneir, as well as the Vice President of BYD America, Fred Ni.
“We are offering a subsidy of $6 million Chilean pesos (approx. $8,000 USD) for those who want to replace their fuel combustion taxis for electric ones. We hope that this electric fleet will also encourage collective taxis to electrify their fleets”, stated Andrés Gómez-Lobo, the Minister of Transport and Telecommunication.
“The cost of a ride in these electric taxis is exactly the same as that of regular taxis, and the fleet will be operating mainly in the center of Santiago so that passengers can experience them. The most important thing is that this project will allow us to gather a lot of data about the real operation and performance of electric taxis in Santiago. There still is a certain degree of insecurity about the electric taxis – chiefly battery performance and driving range – and this project will help us verify whether the batteries will provide enough power for a working day. We will also assess passengers’ response and how drivers adapt to this new technology”, added Matías Salazar The Regional Secretary of the Ministry of Transport.
“We have a Green Zone in the center of Santiago that was registered in the Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Action (NAMA) of the United Nations, in which we are committed to developing a series of initiatives, and one of them is the implementation of electric vehicles”.
Passengers in downtown Santiago can already ride in the electric taxis, and the green fleet is expected to increase should the project succeeds.