Greentomatocars to launch 50-strong BYD London electric minicab fleet
Greentomatocars will launch a fleet of 50 electric minicabs in London next year, using cars supplied by Chinese EV specialist BYD.
Greentomatocars managing director Jonny Goldstone (pictured with BYD chairman Wang Chuanfu) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Chinese automaker to create London’s first all-electric private hire fleet. The move follows trials of two Renault Fluence ZE electric cars earlier this year.
The 50 electric BYD e6 cars will join the Greentomatocars fleet from the second quarter of 2013. Goldstone said he believed the BYD e6 would have a similar impact on the private hire market as the Toyota Prius, which launched Greentomatocars’ eco-chauffeur service in 2006.
“As a car, we see strong parallels between the e6 of today and the then-unfashionable Toyota Prius of 2006,” he said. “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.”
Goldstone, added: “As a partner company, BYD has shown great leadership to challenge the status quo, innovate and electrify mass transport - principles which go to the very heart of Greentomatocars.”
BYD is a relative newcomer to the automotive sector, having started car production only in 2003. But its core business is in batteries, which it supplies to many global computer and mobile phone companies. BYD claims that the Iron Phosphate (Fe) battery in the e6 will give it a range of 186 miles on a single charge in urban conditions – around twice that claimed for leading rivals such as the Nissan Leaf and Renault Fluence ZE. The Fe battery can be fully charged and discharged for more than 4,000 cycles.
The zero-emissions e6 has a 75kW electric motor giving a top speed of 87mph and instant torque providing excellent acceleration. The five-seat, five-door e6 is has substantial legroom and headroom, as well as ample luggage capacity. BYD e6 taxis have already driven a total of more than 14 million miles in key global markets.
BYD Chairman Wang Chuanfu said: “The e6 has zero tailpipe emissions, so it avoids contributing to the city’s CO2 levels and results in cleaner air for Londoners.”
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. 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.”