2/17/2014

China's BYD Launches Electric Taxi Fleet in London

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BYD Co. Ltd. is introducing the first of a fleet of 20 electric taxis in London ahead of a city mandate that all the taxis must be zero-emission vehicles by 2018.

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BYD Co. Ltd. is introducing the first of a fleet of 20 electric taxis in London ahead of a city mandate that all the taxis must be zero-emission vehicles by 2018.

The EV deadline set by Mayor Boris Johnson has prompted a scramble by at least four other taxi makers to prepare electrified models for the London market, notes the Financial Times.

Daimler, Nissan, Metrocab and the London Taxi Co. (maker of the iconic London black cab) all are developing EVs for the city's 22,000-unit taxi market.

Nissan debuted a prototype of its new London taxi van in January and says it will add an all-electric version in 2015.

BYD, which is 9% owned by investor Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc. firm, tells the FT its electric taxis will be operated by two-year-old London-based Thriev Intelligent Personal Transportation Solution Ltd.

Customers will be able to summon the BYD taxis by using a smartphone app similar to those associated with such services as Hailo and Uber.