Tokyo’s electric taxis

Yoshihiko Takahashi chuckles politely when asked if he’s weary of having the same conversation with passengers, day in and day out, as he shuttles them around Tokyo in his white-and-blue all-electric taxi. How often do you have to recharge? How far can you go? Does this car really have no emissions?

Those are just some of the queries he’s grown used to during a 90-day trial this year for a fleet of three zero-emission taxis and a designated battery-switch station, in the first undertaking of its kind in the world.

"For most people, it’s their first time riding an electric car," Takahashi said. "I don’t mind the questions."

Conceived by California-based Better Place and operated in partnership with the Japanese government and Nihon Kotsu, Tokyo’s biggest taxi operator, the pilot programme aims to test the feasibility of all-electric cabs using switchable battery technology as a way to reduce emissions and fuel consumption.

Read the rest of the story: Tokyo’s electric taxi experiment.

Tokyo’s first electric-powered taxis hit the streets

Tokyo’s first electric-powered taxis hit the streets on Thursday Two ‘Zero-taku’ (Zero-taxis), so called because the electric cars produce no carbon emissions, began picking up fares at JR Tokyo Station’s Marunouchi South exit after an inauguration ceremony. ‘If fully charged, we can drive to Yokohama, operator Hinomaru Limousine Co. boasted. The company’s Mitsubishi Motors Corp. i-MiEV electric cars can travel 160 kilometers on a fully charged battery. Fares start at 710 yen ($7.80) for the first 2 kilometers, similar to most taxis.

Read the rest of the story: Emission-free taxi debuts in Tokyo