Wednesday, November 26, 2014

All is not well with Japan's electric taxi drivers. Technology not ready for Taxi market.

News has reach Taxi Leaks Towers, that Nissan has dismantled their Taxi showroom in E14 and will no longer be looking to produce a Petrol Engine NV2000 Taxi for the London Market. They have also said that the current e-NV100 will not pass TfL's strict conditions of fitness, therefore they have no plans to continue investing in the London Market.

The reason given is that with the mayors current regulations regarding the ULEZ coming into force, it would mean that their Petrol engine vehicle would be obsolete within 3 years. 

For full report on the Nissan situation, >Click Here <

Not satisfied with banging another nail into the coffin of the Taxi trade, Boris Johnson has also defended plans to allow his flagship bus to drive in central London despite NOT meeting new emissions standards aimed at cutting the number of deaths attributed to poor air quality.

From 2020 all vehicles entering a new ‘Ultra Low Emission Zone’ will need to comply fully with limits on nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and CO2 emissions or face a daily fine.
The new rules will apply to all private and commercial vehicles, although we have heard in a letter from the deputy Mayor that current Taxis will be exempt from the fines. A payoff that would see all non compliant Taxis subject to a 10 year age limit.

Mr Johnson and Transport for London intend to allow hundreds of New Routemaster buses to operate in the zone despite not meeting emissions limits. No age limit will apply to the Routemasters.

Because TfL, will own the buses, bus operators will escape the fines paid by businesses and households who cannot afford to upgrade their vehicles from the outset.

Boris's dream is that London's Taxi fleet will turn over to electric power as soon as possible, giving him breathing space in his air quality strategy. 

Many would say he is using the trade as a scapegoat to compensate for not having a greener Bus fleet.

But is the Technology ready ?

They may be fine for private use, a few miles daily, but will Taxi driver doing in excess of 100 miles a day, find electric Taxis suitable?

Japan was one of the First Nations to trial an electric Taxi fleet, but all is not well with Japan's electric taxi drivers.

Two 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.

Initially, they went down a storm.

“It’s not fatiguing to drive them. There’s no vibration or knocks from the engine,” said one driver. “They just glide smoothly. The electricity is far cheaper than outlays for gasoline, and there are few mechanical failures. 

Eventually we’re certain that EV taxis will become the most common type on the road.” 

It's not surprising to see the reaction, either.

Like many countries, incumbent taxis are often chosen for their reliability and simplicity, rather than their comfort or driving characteristics. That's why New York is still full of hardy Crown Vics, London's streets are crowded with rattling diesel black cabs, and Mexico only recently relinquished the ubiquitous VW Bug. A Nissan Leaf really would feel like the future to the average taxi driver. But could it continue do the work over time?

Turning tide?

Large problems have begun to emerge.

The first came in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear disaster, following 2011's earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

Many people were worried that electric cars would give 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.

There are other issues too with the cars themselves.

While reliable, comfortable and smooth as ever, high-mileage drivers are finding degradation of the battery packs to be a major 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. Drivers have been cautioned for driving at night with no lights and obviously there's no chance of getting the driver to "put some music on!"

Degradation of the battery pack has also had an effect on the battery's ability to take a quick charge. A 15-minute quick charge has effectively 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, it's ruining business for some. Customers requesting longer trips are even being turned down. Can you imagine this in London, "Guilford Driver ? No chance Guv !".

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.”

This has got me thinking!

If one of the top Tech countries in the world ain't making it happen and with the name Nissan popping up, then no way, no way are we ready to take up alternative energy vehicles.

I'm a believer in test cases and the Osaka case proves at the moment that the time is definitely not right for embarking on a road that will lead to businesses collapsing.

More power to you all ! 

    Source: Japan Today : MayorWatch.


Veritas said...

are you reading this Mr mayor and Mr Hendy?

We actually know you read this blog daily, so over to you for answers.

Compellability, dfferential treatment as opposed to your own vehicles etc.

Your were in a hole so should have stopped digging, instead you climbed out and got bigger shovels.

Prime minister, Boris?

The London cab trade would not trust you to run a bath!

Anonymous said...

can you imagine y.b drivers having to get taxis under 10yo that really would nean the end for those poor guys.