HIT & TAXIWAY: THE ELECTRIC TAXI IN THESSALONIKI SOON - Innovative electrification program in Greece for radio taxis of the city
The electric taxis in Thessaloniki is the subject of collaboration of HIT/CERTH (the Hellenic Institute of Transport) and TAXIWAY, the largest radio taxi company in Thessaloniki with more than 1000 vehicles. The goal is the immediate implementation of the electrification into the company's radio taxis, so that by 2019 the first electric taxis will be available on the streets of the city.
Electrification creates a possibility to minimize consumption - and thus the pollution caused by conventional forms of taxi traffic. As mentioned by the president of the Pan-Hellenic Taxi Association, Athanasios Mavridis, "there is a strong and direct interest in electric taxis. However, an electric taxi needs to be charged at least once - maybe twice - per day. This requires charging stations to make charging easy and fast ".
The Director of HIT/CERTH Dr. Evangelos Bekiaris, points out that «HEDNO has entrusted HIT with the technical advisory service for the quantification of required speeders along the national axes and simple chargers in the urban areas of Greece. The first series of fast chargers is expected to be set up with government funds. Clearly, if possible, the study will include the feasibility of installation of charging stations for taxis in key areas such as city entrances, taxi stations, etc. The study is intended to be delivered in mid-October, and it is expected to follow the specific placement and charger installation actions. There are changes to be made in legislation not only to allow the use of electric vehicles as taxis but also to be included in the category of electric vehicles – free from taxes and tariffs - and those with range extender, ie with an auxiliary motor that simply extends the vehicle's autonomy for some distance, in case of battery exhaustion. All over Europe, these vehicles are considered to be purely electric, while in Greece they are considered hybrid and are subject to tax. In addition, HIT/CERTH, on its own initiative and cost is setting up the piloting first fast charger as well as a group of simple chargers at a charging station of the Hellenic Petroleum Company (HELPE), between Charilaou and Thermi, for public use."
On his visit to the TAXIWAY stand at the HELEXPO, The minister of Transport and Infrastructure Christos Spirtzis, showed positivity about the legislative changes in order to allow the electric vehicles circulate as taxis in Greece.
The intention of the professionals, according to Mr. Mavridis, is to start the program with about 100 taxis initially in Central Macedonia, as the taxi fleet has not been renewed since the Olympic Games of 2004.