Chinese EV maker BYD has sold 34 electric taxis in Brussels, capital of the EU, embarrassing the more established players Renault and Nissan.
“I’d rather have chosen a European brand than a Chinese one of course,” said Luigi Marrocco, CEO of Taxis Bleus, one of the two biggest taxi companies in Brussels. “But when it comes to size, comfort and range, BYD was clearly above Nissan and Renault.”
BYD’s e6 hatchback has a range of 300 km, double the Renault Zoe’s 150 km. Taxis Bleus, which operates 320 cabs in Brussels, bought 13 of the e6, as well as one Renault Zoe and three Nissan Leafs, Marrocco said. He rejected Tesla’s Model S as too expensive.
For BYD, it’s the biggest taxi order so far in Europe. The company has 20 taxis operating in London and a “small number” in Rotterdam (there are also 850 e6 taxis in BYD’s home city of Shenzhen, and 45 in Hong Kong).
At 48,000 euros ($61,000), the BYD e6 is more expensive than legacy vehicles, but the fuel savings offset the additional cost in about four years, said Marc Debont, a spokesman for the Brussels regional government. Bidding for the zero-emission vehicles was one of the few ways to gain new licenses in the city, which has about 1,300 taxis.
“We are delighted to have assisted in bringing these zero-emission BYD vehicles to our taxi fleet,” said Pascal Smet, Minister for Mobility and Public Works in the Brussels region. “They will help contribute to our efforts to reduce air pollution in our city and of course to demonstrate to our citizens the value of electric vehicles.”