Hybrid taxis are expected to be spotted on the streets of Seoul as the Seoul Metropolitan Government introduces ten eco-friendly taxis.
The taxis will be tested for about a year until more become available at the end of 2010. The plan is driven by the goal to fight global warming by cutting carbon emissions.
Hybrid cars use electric motors to cut the reliance on fuel by half compared to taxis that run on liquefied petroleum gas. This means that one hybrid taxi is able to reduce carbon emissions by around six tons per year. Hybrid engines shut down automatically when the taxi comes to a stop, which is great for saving energy as drivers often spend hours waiting for passengers.
The downside is that hybrid taxis are considerably more expensive, by over US$4,300 per vehicle. The cost is a major issue for many operators considering such vehicles. Seoul City officials said they will be pushing for government funding to assist in purchasing green taxis.