This blog has noted before how San Francisco leads in electric public transit. According to Clean Edge, Better Place announced a commitment to bring a switchable battery, electric taxi program to the Bay Area in partnership with the cities of San Francisco and San Jose and with support from the U.S. Department of Transportation via the Metropolitan Transportation Commission.
“The company already operates an EV taxi program in Tokyo, supported by the Japanese government. The pilot project began on April 26, in cooperation with Nihon Kotsu Co., Tokyo’s largest taxi operator, and focuses on the feasibility of an automated battery switch process as means for taxis to have instant, zero-emission, range extension. In the first 90 days of the trial, the EV taxis drove over 25,000 miles using battery switch as the primary means of “instant charge” or range extension.”
Taxis are a high-mileage. As noted before, “Although cabs comprise just two percent of the cars in Japan they’re responsible for a whopping 20 percent of the CO2 emitted.”. They also are high-visibility. When striving for a mass-market segment, such exposure can stimulate adoption.
Over the next three years, Better Place plans to deploy and operate four battery switch stations in the San Francisco to San Jose corridor. These stations will support a fleet e-taxis.
This fleet will offer many thousands of Bay Area residents and visitors their first EV experience. The program also has the potential to help California and the Bay Area meet their aggressive energy and climate policy goals when scaled to the entire region.