By Erik Crouch
Image courtesy of @Albertma http://www.flickr.com/photos/albertma/5477147007/
The Hong Kong Transportation Department, in coordination with suppliers for Nissan and Toyota, plans to unveil a new hybrid-taxi program for the city as early as February 2013. The new taxicabs would be based on Toyota’s Prius and Nissan’s Leaf. Nissan was formerly the chief supplier of cabs to Hong Kong, but lost the title in 2001 when Toyota’s fleet of liquified petroleum gas vehicles won the city’s approval.
Hong Kong currently has only six “fast-charging” stations for hybrid vehicles, and the move for more hybrid taxis will likely push the city to upgrade existing electric-vehicle infrastructure. The Toyota Prius is a hybrid gas/petroleum car already used as a taxicab in Tokyo, New York, Paris, and several other major cities. Nissan’s Leaf, which runs entirely on electric power, has only been in production since 2010 and is slated for cab use in Wuhan and Guangzhou. Not to be one-upped, Toyota plans to counter the Leaf’s all-electric engine with a fuel-cell taxi in the near future.