China has just taken a big step to increase its hold in the electric car market.
Beijing China Smog Og

GREG BAKER/AFP/Getty ImagesA man wears a mask to protect himself from air pollution in Beijing.

Sick of carbon dioxide-spewing taxis? Recent events seem to indicate that the Chinese government is, too.

This past February, China declared that it would replace Beijing’s 67,000 fossil-fueled taxis with electric cars in the near future.

National Business Daily reports that the plan, which China will begin to implement this year, is expected to cost taxi operators $1.3 billion. This figure doesn’t take into account the fact that, at least initially, electric cars often cost twice as much as an equivalent fossil-fueled car.

Nor does it take into account the fact that there aren’t many electric car charging stations in the 20-million-person metropolis.

“There are 200 electric taxis on the streets of Tongzhou in Beijing, but only about 100 are on the road,” one taxi driver told Chinese newspaper Caixin, “while the other 100 are waiting to be charged.”

But as the government plans to roll out the initiative over time, it could take almost a decade before all the older vehicles will either be converted or scrapped for newer, electric ones — and perhaps give China time to install more charging stations to accommodate the greener taxi fleet.

The Chinese government is expected to hand out significant subsidies during the transition as well, in part to increase investments in China’s electric car industry (the country is currently the world’s biggest electric vehicle market, according to Electrek), and also to grapple with China’s pollution problem.

A 2015 study found that poor air quality in China prematurely kills up to 4,000 people per day.

The plan coincides with another Chinese government program to push private citizens into purchasing greener energy vehicles, such as hybrids or battery-operated cars.


Next, check out how China is growing a vertical forest to gobble up CO2, before finding out why China’s new sex education curriculum is promoting a slew of progressive values.

Michael Gardiner
Staff Writer for All That Is Interesting based in Brooklyn. Send tips and hints to michael.gardiner@all-that-is-interesting.com
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