Seoul introduces eco-friendly hybrid taxis


The newly-introduced hybrid taxi in Seoul is a hybrid vehicle powered by a Liquefied Petroleum Injection (LPI) engine that was first developed in Korea. A total of ten taxis are running in the city by five taxi companies in Seoul, selected by the Korea National Joint Conference of Taxi Association.

The LPI hybrid taxis distributed in Seoul use LP gas as fuel and adopted liquefied petroleum direct injection engine to enhance 1,600 cc engine power. The vehicle is also installed with a 15 kw electric motor as an auxiliary power unit to generate electricity for charging the battery by recovering the motor with braking energy that is usually lost down hills. The hybrid taxi also stops idling by shutting down the engine when the car is not running to prevent fuel consumption from unnecessary engine idling. The vehicle is expected to be especially effective for the taxi fleet as taxis spend most of their time waiting with their engine on.

According to a city official, the hybrid taxi is highly environmentally friendly, as one hybrid taxi is expected to reduce more than six tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually and halve air pollutant emissions such as nitrogen oxides. The preliminary introduction will gain full swing beginning next year.

The Seoul Metropolitan Government started the test-run of eco-friendly taxis on December 3, to transform current gas taxis into hybrid ones that will contribute to the improvement of air quality in the city. To do so, the city government concluded an agreement on the preliminary introduction of hybrid taxis with the Ministry of Environment of Korea, Korea National Joint Conference of Taxi Association, Hyundai-Kia Motors, and Korea LPG Association on December 1.

They have agreed that improving air quality and reducing greenhouse gases in the city are urgent issues. Accordingly, they have decided to join hands to support the distribution of hybrid taxis. The Korea National Joint Conference of Taxi Association will select participating taxi companies and support the monitoring of its operation. Hyundai-Kia Motors will do its role as an automobile manufacturer by monitoring and developing technologies, including analysis of vehicle components durability. Korea LPG Association will support the supply of fuel for the taxis, and the Seoul Metropolitan Government and the Ministry of Environment will provide administrative supports.