Israeli Company to Launch World's First Electric Taxi Fleet in Tokyo

Better Place firm, set to urn pilot, stated Tokyo has 60,000 taxis, more than New York, Hong Kong.

Better Place is set to launch its pilot project for the world's first electric taxi fleet on Monday in Tokyo.

The pilot will be launched in Tokyo's central Roppongi Hills, where Better Place is building a battery switch site. Participants are expected to include Nihon Kotsu, Tokyo's largest taxi operator; the directors general of Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry; and officials from Better Place, which is run by Shai Agassi and Idan Ofer.

Better Place announced in August that the Japanese government had chosen it to run the pilot, in partnership with Nihon Kotsu.

Better Place has stated that Tokyo has about 60,000 taxis, which is far more than New York City, Hong Kong or Paris.

The main challenge will be overcoming the battery's 160-kilometer maximum range. Better Place will install stations for charging and replacing batteries. It says the process is simple - drivers will be able to stay in their cabs while the battery is replaced.

"Better Place is setting up the world's first battery replacement stations for electric cars," said Kiyotaka Fujii, President of Better Place Japan and head of business development for Asia Pacific.

One of the Japanese Environment Ministry's goals is to have at least half of all new cars running on electricity by 2020, in order to help the country meet its carbon emission goals.

While taxis represent a mere 2% of all passenger vehicles on the road in Japan, they are responsible for approximately 20% of all carbon dioxide emissions from vehicles, because of the great number of kilometers they travel, Better Place has stated.