Thursday, June 08, 2017

The Osaka Experiment :Why Are Beijing's Electric Taxi Passengers Freezing?

Six years ago, in February 2011, the city of Osaka introduced a fleet of fifty Nissan Leaf taxis. The deal was a cooperative arrangement between Nissan, 30 taxi firms, and the government--each was being subsidized to the tune of 1,780,000 Yen--over $21,000 at the time.


The car's would clean up Japan's clogged streets, an improvement on the ubiquitous, square-jawed Toyota Crown taxis used throughout Japanese cities.

Like many countries, the incumbent taxis are often chosen for their reliability and simplicity, rather than their comfort or driving characteristics. That's why New York is full of hardy Crown Vics, London's streets are crowded with rattling diesel black cabs, and Mexico only recently relinquished the ubiquitous VW Bug.

Would an electric Nissan really feel like the future to the average taxi driver?

     It's a bit of a squeeze inside

Turning tide?
However, problems have begun to emerge.
The first came in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear disaster, following 2011's earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

As was reported at the time, many people in Japan were worried that electric cars would be giving off the wrong image--conspicuous consumption of electricity at a time when power was in high demand and very short supply. 
Electricity is no longer seen as the clean, safe option it once was.

Apart from a 'conspicuous' lack of information about the dangers of the radiation given off surrounding the battery pack, there are other issues too with the cars themselves.

While reliable, comfortable and smooth as ever, high-mileage drivers are finding degredation of the battery packs to be an issue.

Where a 60 mile range was once common in regular use, some are finding that cut to as low as 30 miles and to save energy as much as possible, some drivers are shunning the car's heater in favor of chemical pocket warmers, and even blankets.

Degredation of the battery pack has also had an effect on the battery's ability to take a quick charge. A 15-minute charge has turned into a 40-minute one for many drivers. They can't travel as far, and they can't spend as much time on the road. Drivers say it's ruining business, for some. Customers requesting longer trips are even being turned down.

There's no get-out for the drivers, either. To qualify for the government's subsidy, the electric cars must be run for a minimum of three years. That's a year too long for some. 
“I’m getting out of this business,” 
said one driver, 
“This is no way to earn a living.”

Perspective

Osaka's electric taxi drivers aren't facing unheard-of problems, but nor can their experiences be considered the norm, either for electric car owners, or electric taxi drivers.

Climate, driving routes and charging habits all make a difference to how well a car lasts, and the life of a taxi is never an easy one.

The main issue for Leaf batteries is still excessive heat, rather than cold (though cold climates do reduce the car's range). 

What it does suggest is that in some localities, electric vehicles aren't yet ready for heavy-duty tasks like taxi work.

While that's no consolation to the drivers losing business through degrading vehicles, progress can only be made by analysing these kind of trials.

But many believe we are in danger of rolling out this technology that isn't ready yet to take over completely and the danger from radiation seems to be swept under the carpet by manufacturers.


After the abject failure of electric Taxis in Osaka Japan, Ford (Hong Kong) have unveiled a new Transit Connect Taxi, based on a current model, running on petrol/LPG, (CNG) reducing NOx emissions by 80%. 

With the Taxi trade on the brink of financial ruing, why aren't our representative orgs, lobbing on our behalf for a more viable option, such as the Ford Transit Taxi?

Better still, why has no attempt been made to keep the iconic shell, together with a petrol gas engine



Why Are Beijing's Electric Taxi Passengers Freezing?



Hybrid & Electric Cars: Electromagnetic Radiation Risks


Hybrid and electric cars may be cancer-causing as they emit extremely low frequency (ELF) electromagnetic radiation (EMR) or magnetic fields. Recent studies of the levels of EMR emitted by these automobiles have claimed either that they pose a cancer risk for the vehicles' occupants or they are safe. 

Unfortunately, the little research conducted on this issue has been industry-funded by companies with vested interests on one side of the issue or the other which makes it difficult to know which studies are trustworthy

Note that many experts believe the ICNIRP guidelines for maximum general public exposure to magnetic fields do not adequately protect the public from health risks.