BYD e6 taxis in China – Click above for high-res image gallery
Hua Yong drives one of the 29 electric taxis that service the city of Hangzhou, a touristy area near Shanghai, China. Recently, the Wall Street Daily spent a day with Yong to discover what it's like to be electric taxi driver. Well, it turns out that piloting an e-taxi is not as glamorous as one might expect.
As one of the day's e-taxis passengers told the Wall Street Daily, "The driver says it takes a couple of hours to charge the battery, and if isn't charged in time or the car gets stuck in traffic, it can be a problem." Since Yong politely drags his passengers to one of the city's quick-charge stations, running out a juice isn't really a problem, but being inconvenienced by a side trip to charge up would be an issue if Yong's passengers weren't so aware of how electric vehicles function. Fortunately, Yong says most of his passengers are "very understanding."
Yong had to be bailed out on two occasions in 2010 when he drove his e-taxi out of juice. Now, however, Yong knows to turn passengers down when the battery's charge gets too low. In one day, Yong will charge the e-taxi approximately five times, but he only pays around $0.80 a kilometer to run his taxi on electricity, about half of what gasoline cab drivers dish out for fuel over in China. And that, for the owner of the electric taxi fleet, is money in the bank.