Palo Alto, California – Electric taxis will soon be picking up passengers in San Francisco and San Jose, part of a pilot program through electric vehicle service provider Better Place with support from the U.S. Department of Transportation. The taxis will use switchable batteries to reduce down time for recharging.

Over the next three years, the program will deploy and operate four battery switch stations in the San Francisco to San Jose corridor to support a fleet of zero-emission switchable taxis.

Better Place said that while there are fewer gasoline-powered taxis than personal cars, their high mileage is disproportionately responsible for greenhouse gas and other tailpipe emissions. Since taxis drive nearly continuously, they require instant charge of their batteries to maintain quality of service. Waiting three to four hours for a standard charge is not an option, so battery switching allows the driver to recharge in less time than it takes to refuel a gasoline vehicle.

Better Place has been successfully operating an electric taxi program in Tokyo, supported by the Japanese government. The pilot project began on April 26 and in the first 90 days of the trial, the taxis drove over 40,200 kilometres using battery switch as the primary means of recharging.

The California taxis will be run through Yellow Cab Cooperative and Yellow Checker Cab Inc.

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