ETaxiCo, an e-taxi platform, recently announced that it was launching a fleet of 120 electric cars that would provide a zero-contact transport alternative in Sydney.
Clean Air Taxi
This upcoming launch is part of the company’s ‘Clean Air Taxi’ initiative.
The fleet of 120 electric taxis will be the first of 2,000 Chinese-built zero-emission compact SUVs, which are produced and imported by the Chinese automaker BYD and Nexport (ETaxiCo's parent company). If all things go well, we’ll find a viable and safe mode of transport during this pandemic.
Initial plans to launch the first batch were disrupted and consequently delayed by the coronavirus issue. Behind the project are several renowned figures, including Northern Beaches mayor Michael Regan and federal member Warringah Zali Steagall.
During the six-month trial, the taxis will operate in three sites all under the Northern Beaches area. The company aims to collaborate with even more councils to hit the target of 2,000 EV taxis by the end of next year.
Luke Todd, managing director at Nexport, explained that the initiative would help hasten the rollout of EV charging infrastructure and the uptake of EVs by the public.
Mainstreaming of EV taxis
Todd expressed their hope that this move would inspire taxi operators and supporters to adopt EVs instead of ICE or hybrid. He added that while they see value in using hybrid, the sector's goal should be the mainstreaming of zero-emissions vehicles in the next few years.
There couldn’t be a better time for this launch than now that NSW has begun lifting some of the stay-at-home COVID-19 measures.
The implemented restrictions has brought about many effects, reduced pollution among the positive ones. Many cities have recorded a drop in transport-related pollution, which has led to improved air quality. Now, the ‘Clean Air Taxi’ initiative could bring about the same effect in Sydney.
The parent company, Nexport, uses the capsule system to create separate areas for the driver and the passengers. The driver’s seat is separated from the shotgun seat, as are the right and left backseats. This approach helps reduce the chances of infecting a person with COVID-19.
With the massive losses that the taxi industry suffered in the past couple of months, Todd said that they had to take the challenge head-on. By fielding new cars and installing zero-contact taxi screens, they enter the market with a product that appeals to the customers as a safer and more convenient means of transport.
Besides the capsule system, Todd insisted that strict hygiene protocols and measures will be implemented. These include top to toe daily disinfection, daytime periodic cleansing, and hand sanitising using sanitisers provided in the passengers’ compartments.
This transport alternative will come in very handy for the aged or sick persons. Todd even foresees the practical application of their product in transporting patients and health workers at hospitals and similar facilities.
This project by ETaxiCo presents a feasible and convenient solution for local and state council goals to lower CO2 emissions, including the NSW Net Zero plan that advocates for the adoption of EV fleets as well as the City of Sydney’s Sustainable Sydney 2030.
“Northern Beaches Council has been really warm to our initiative," Todd revealed, saying that they were afforded dedicated priority positions, including permission to move to the front of queues in the Northern Beaches area.
The project was scheduled to kick off this month with 15 specially-fitted e6 electric SUVs before scaling up to 120 by August. The SUV models are all right-handed drive and have been cleared for driving on the local roads.
Nexport is said to be in talks with other electric automakers for the supply of vehicles. This move could be beneficial to importers in the automotive industry as it urges them to supply to the growing local EV market.
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By Sam O.