SEOUL, March 5 (Korea Bizwire) — Kakao Mobility, the mobility business unit of Kakao Corp. is spurring efforts to promote the introduction of electric taxis.
The company recently launched an ‘Electric Taxi Support Program’ for privately owned taxi drivers who want to join the company’s affiliated taxi service, Kakao T Blue.
The existing members of the service who want to run electric taxis can also benefit from the program.
At first, the new program will provide financial support of 2 million won (US$1,760) each for the purchase of 50 electric taxis.
Electric taxis can contribute to reducing carbon emissions, and also offer benefits when it comes to driving convenience, economic value, riding comfort and noise.
The stumbling blocks that have prevented the widespread adoption of electric taxis include their cost, and concern about charging infrastructure.
The buying price of Kia Corp.’s Niro electric vehicle is high at around 30 million won, a price that includes the Seoul Metropolitan Government’s maximum subsidy of 18 million won for electric taxis.
This is a burdensome price given that pricing for ordinary mid-sized liquefied petroleum gas (LPG)-powered taxis starts below 20 million won.
At present, the share of electric taxis among Kakao T Blue’s fleet remains low at about 1 percent, or 180 vehicles.
Kakao Mobility, which recently formed a partnership with Kia, plans to speed up the distribution of electric taxis by offering a wide variety of benefits, including financial support for the purchase of electric taxis.
Although the initial cost is relatively high, electric taxis are cheap to operate and maintain. Compared to LPG fuel, which costs about 12,750 won for a distance of 200 kilometers, rapid charging for electric cars costs 9,650 won.
J. S. Shin (email@example.com)