The smoggy, bustling city of Seoul is looking at phasing out its fleet of fossil-fueled taxis in favor of electric vehicles.
Thousands of LPG taxis like this one would be phased out in favor of electric cars if the City of Seoul adopts this policy. April 5, 2016 (Photo by Michael Boyce
South Korea's capital city of 10 million people is investigating the economic feasibility of replacing its current fleet of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) taxis with EV taxis by phasing the LPG cars out when their operational lifetime is over.
A new analysis by James Seong-Cheol Kang of Seoul's Global Green Growth Institute and Hoyoung Lee of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Seoul National University, takes a positive view of such a transition.
They find "intrinsic advantages of electric vehicles over fossil fuel vehicles and rapid advances in technology."
Kang and Lee say the costs for purchasing vehicles used in their analysis are US$17,201 for a LPG taxi like a Hyundai Sonata, and more than twice as much, US$37,776, for an electric taxi such as a Renault Samsung SM3.
It is assumed that LPG taxis are replaced by EV taxis only when their operational lifetime comes to an end. This would face least resistance from the taxi owners, say Kang and Lee.
The avoided environmental costs of air pollution were factored in as a benefit because EVs emit no greenhouse gases or other pollutants as LPG vehicles do.
The transport planning model, especially traffic assignment, is incorporated in the calculation process for estimating these avoided costs.
Savings from the fuel switch to electricity from liquefied petroleum gas for taxis is taken into account.
Analysts Kang and Lee conclude, "the benefit-cost ratio was 1.46, signifying economic viability of the deployment of EV taxis."
Thousands of vehicles would be affected by this change. Kang and Lee calculate that by the year 2024 the taxi replacement demand will have totaled 72,000 vehicles.
The analysis, "Sustainable Transport through Provision of Electric Vehicle Taxis: A Case Study in Seoul," is online here