Chinese automaker BYD and London minicab operator greentomatocars have signed a memorandum of understanding calling for BYD to supply 50 e6 electric vehicles to greentomatocars, which operates about 300 minicabs in Cool Britannia’s capital (“minicabs” are ordinary cars used as cabs, as opposed to the city’s famous diesel-powered black taxicabs). The new zero-emission taxis are expected to be in use from the second quarter of 2013.
London Mayor Boris Johnson said, “It is my aim that London’s minicabs and taxis will be zero-emission by 2020, which will have a major impact on air quality. Every year the fleet is getting cleaner, making our city an even more attractive place to live, work and visit. Encouraging many more electric vehicles is a key part of this transformation, so it is great news that greentomatocars has committed to operating 50 of these super clean machines from next year.”
BYD Chairman Wang Chuanfu said, “We are delighted to supply greentomatocars with e6 vehicles that will create London’s first electric minicab fleet. The e6 has zero tailpipe emissions, so it avoids contributing to the city’s CO2 levels and results in cleaner air for Londoners.”
Jonny Goldstone, Managing Director of greentomatocars, added, ” BYD has shown great leadership to challenge the status quo, innovate and electrify mass transport – principles which go to the very heart of greentomatocars. As a car, we see strong parallels between the e6 of today and the then-unfashionable Toyota Prius of 2006. It’s exciting to think that, even as a 5-car start up, we played a major role in making the Prius popular; given the scale, experience and high-tech infrastructure we now have at our disposal, we’d love to “do a Prius” with the e6, and help propel electric vehicles into the automotive mainstream – where they deserve and, for all our sakes, need to be.”
BYD is one of the world’s largest rechargeable battery manufacturers, and branched out into the auto business in 2003. It builds electric passenger cars, buses and trucks. Its five-seat e6 crossover features a 75 kW motor, a range of up to 186 miles in urban conditions, and a top speed of 87 mph. It uses BYD’s own Fe (iron phosphate) battery, which the company claims is good for more than 4,000 charge/discharge cycles.