Scaling back from its former intentions of becoming “China’s No. 1 automaker by 2015 and the world’s leading car maker by 2025,” China’s BYD now wants to become a world-class fish in Hong Kong’s taxi pond.
BYD has six electric e6 taxis running in Hong Kong, across the border from its Shenzhen, China, headquarters. Its plans call for much more: “We expect to increase the number of e6 taxis in Hong Kong to 5,000 in three years,” Liu Xueliang, general manager of BYD Asia Pacific sales, told Reuters. Hong Kong Taxi & Public Light Bus Association said it is renting from BYD an initial fleet of 45 taxis for around US$1,000 each per month.
Back home in China, BYD sold about 1,700 e6 vehicles last year. They go for around $60,000 and are reluctantly bought by local governments and taxi companies that want to shine their green image.
Hong Kong’s taxi fleet consists mostly of often LPG-powered Toyota Crowns. Last year, BYD announced plans to export 50 e6 taxis to London.