Alternative Fuels Australia

Perth gets hybrid taxis

Posted by Car Geek on July 8, 2007

Toyota Prius taxi in NYC, from http://flickr.com/photos/moth/245573404/

Western Australia is set to be the third Australian state to trial hybrid taxis, with the state government offering a $15,000 grant and up to 20 per cent reduction in the vehicle lease rates for up to 10 hybrid taxis. Planning and Infrastructure Minister Alannah MacTiernan said that, combined, the vehicles would emit 410 tonnes less CO2 over an eight-year lifespan when compared to standard taxis such as the six-cylinder Holden Commodore or Ford Falcon.

Hybrids are well-suited to urban driving where idling and frequent start-stopping is common, making taxis an ideal candidate. New York City in the United States is planning to convert their entire fleet to hybrid vehicles, and the vehicles are also being trialled in Townsville and Sydney. Unfortunately the WA government is likely to be limited in the variety of vehicles to be offered as part of the grant application process, with only two hybrids being sold in Australia currently that would suit the role: the Toyota Prius and the Honda Civic Hybrid (there is also a third hybrid available, the Lexus RX400h, but at about $95,000 each it’s unlikely to be racking up the kilometres as a taxi). The programme may be extended if it is judged to be successful, but no time frame was given for a wider introduction of the hybrid vehicles.

(Source: PerthNow)

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13 Responses to “Perth gets hybrid taxis”

  1. karan said

    I’m not entirely sure that the Prius and Civic suit the taxi role – at least by Australian standards, that’s a bit small for the average taxi. It’ll certainly be suited to inner-city duties during the day, but night duties for a group would be a bit tough.

    What I’d particularly like to see – in Victoria or SA say, where the local car production is – would be for the government(s) to partner up with the local manufacturers and see if they can’t get something going on that front. I can see Australia sorely lacking in this front if nothing moves now, particularly at Ford or Holden who manufacture their own engines in Aus.

    I’m sure pitching the idea of a LPG hybrid to taxi drivers will see more than a few putting hands up 🙂

  2. Vent said

    Though it a bit pricey, I love everything about it – it’s super high-tech and has all sorts of cool features such as the latest in hybrid technology and make a steady ride. It’s incredibly fast and its beautiful interior design compliments the Lexus floor mats – http://www.lxpartsconnection.com/lexusfloormats.html , and even when heavy on the fast-pedal, it gets over 24 mpg! Now this car is likely I call fast car…

  3. 351 said

    Petrol produces 2.3kg of Co2 per litre.
    Diesel produces 2.7kg of Co2 per litre.
    …..and LPG produces 1.6kg of Co2 per litre.

    A bit of a publicity gimic it seems. A Hybrid with solar panels on the roof with LPG to suppliment power is the way to go (Agreed with Karen)!

  4. 351 said

    Addendum to the above.

    Electricity produces ~3.0kg of Co2 per litre (thanks to our inefficient power stations!).

    The cost of fuel should be factored in with the cost of maintenance and repairs, hence why Fords and Holdens on LPG are so popular. Prius and the Civic Hybrid (HCH2) are expensive and too small, also what I’ve found is that a tow pack is NOT available with ANY Hybrids.

    Being a Melbourne Cabby myself, is seems a bit of a publicity gimic it seems. A Hybrid with solar panels on the roof with LPG to suppliment power is the way to go!

    Now if they where to produce a Hybrid E-Gas car, I’ll put my hands up for one!

  5. Nathan said

    351, the only thing there that you have to consider is that LPG uses, traditionally, 50% more fuel than petrol. So per kilometre, LPG and petrol variants emit almost the same amount of CO2. That said, I’d love to see an LPG hybrid, though funnily enough I think it’d be something that would only work in Australia as LPG isn’t too huge overseas. It wouldn’t reduce GHG emissions any more than a standard hybrid, but it would reduce operating costs.

    Addendum for your addendum: I have to agree with you that our electricity generation is, for lack of a better word, awful. We’re one of the few industrialised countries in the world where electric cars would produce *more* carbon dioxide than a standard car. It’s not an issue for current hybrids, which draw their power from regenerative braking, but the next generation will likely have much larger battery packs which can be plugged into a household power point, and they might be even worse for the environment unless they’re charged during off-peak hours, when there is surplus electricity going to waste.

  6. 351 said

    Nathan, true of the cars of the past. Modern E-Gas vehicles use 15% more fuel than petrol, not 50%, where did you get this figure? Check out http://www.ford.com.au for the figures and related sites.

    My 1 year old E-Gas Falcon BF XT uses approximately on average 13.5lt/100klm (now has 200,00klm and running strongly). I have asked many taxi drivers (work colleagues) and for the BA -> BF II class of taxis on E-GAS, they use at average 14lt/200klm, well below 50%). My previous taxi vehicle, an ED on tickford factory fitted duel-fuel LPG uses 15lt/100klm.

  7. 351 said

    Nathan, cabs can’t be in garages all night recharging, else we will be out of business! Unless charge times come down to that of filing up a vehicle with fossel fuels!

    Regenerative braking is insufficient to power the vehicle alone, but every bit helps.

    LPG Hybrid with Solar on the roof is the way to go. Australia has 200 years worth of gas and selling it overseas for 5c per litre, makes you think really.

    And if car companies where really serious, they would find a way for LPG to be more efficient!

  8. Nathan said

    I obtained those figures from the Green Vehicle Guide (linked on the right hand side of this site) and from the Ford Australia website. The Ford Falcon petrol variant uses 10.2L/100km, and the E-gas variant uses 15.1L/100km, roughly a 50% increase. Your mileage may vary, of course. My experience with LPG retrofitted cars fits fairly closely with that, but as they say, anecdotes are no substitute for evidence.

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