Nissan tests electric taxi fleet operations in Japan

April 16, 2012

Nissan has launched a three-month program to evaluate the use of its Leaf plugin-electric vehicle as a taxi.

The EV Taxi Share Station project, which is being run in conjunction with two local taxi associations, encompasses urban, suburban and rural environments. The objective is to assess and solve some of the problems that other electric vehicle (EV) taxi proponents have faced.

The advantage of using EVs as taxis are: very low fuel cost; simple maintenance; little noise and vibration; and a low center of gravity that makes for a comfortable ride. The main disadvantages, of course, the relatively limited range of EVs and the time it takes to recharge them.

Nissan is seeking to address these issues by installing EV charging points next to existing taxi stands. Standard taxis and e-taxis will alternate in taking fares (hence the word “share”) so taxi operators benefits from the low cost of running EVs (when available) and aren’t hurt potential downtime while they cars recharge.

Nissan hopes that the alternating taxi solution will help promote the use of EVs into areas where there may other wise be few. The use of existing taxi stands will cuts down on installation costs and also electric cars spread from the city.