HDT Singapore Taxi Pte. Ltd. is launching a fleet of fully-electric taxis in Singapore by the first quarter of 2017, in Southeast Asia’s first fully-electric taxi operation. The fleet is made up of 100 e6 electric crossover sedans supplied by BYD, the world’s largest manufacturer of rechargeable batteries and electric vehicles (EVs), as part of their strategy to introduce e-taxis in Singapore.
HDT will begin its taxi service operation in the first week of September, with all 100 e-taxis being progressively introduced until the first quarter of 2017. The company currently operates a private-hire service with an existing fleet of 30 BYD e6, which will continue to provide private on-call and leasing services. Since its operation started in 2014, these 30 BYD e6 vehicles have accumulated a mileage of about 3 million kilometers, representing a 1,000-ton cut in carbon dioxide emissions. The service has been widely acclaimed by Singaporeans at large for its supreme quality, zero emissions, as well as the quiet and comfortable riding experience.
To support its operations, HDT will implement the necessary charging infrastructure, complying with Singapore’s charging standards. This Type 2 charging standard – which allows for normal and semi-fast EV charging – will enable the BYD e6 taxi to fully charge within 90 minutes. HDT’s charging points will bolster the government’s efforts to build an EV charging infrastructure that will also support the proliferation of EVs in Singapore.
HDT is also testing a new employer-employee business model, in which their drivers become full-time employees entitled to benefits under the Singapore Employment Act, unlike the traditional model of leasing out taxis to drivers for a fee.
HDT’s e-taxi trial is part of Singapore’s EV Phase 2 Test-bed, led jointly by the Land Transport Authority (LTA) and the Economic Development Board (EDB), and it is aimed at exploring fleet-based operations such as EV car-sharing and electric taxi fleets. The HDT e-taxi service will operate for eight years, giving LTA and EDB the opportunity to assess whether new and innovative EV business models are viable for Singapore’s land transport network.
According to findings published in the E-Mobility Technology Roadmap for Singapore, fleet vehicles such as public buses and taxis offer the biggest potential for electrification. Although taxi fleets account for only 3 per cent of Singapore’s overall vehicle fleet today, they hold the highest annual mileage per vehicle. An electric taxi fleet – with zero tail-pipe emissions and being quieter than internal combustion vehicles – bears great potential to reduce air and noise pollution.