Indonesia’s largest taxi operator launches electric cars

The Blue Bird Group, Indonesia's largest taxi operator, has added two new electric vehicle models to its fleet in the greater Jakarta area.

This move makes the firm the first taxi operator in Southeast Asia to employ such environmentally-friendly cars.

In the initial stage, it introduced 25 Chinese-made BYD e6 all-electric compact multi-purpose vehicles, which will operate as regular Blue Bird taxis, and five Tesla Model X 75D mid-size all-electric luxury sport utility vehicles for its upmarket Silver Bird service.

The group plans to increase its electric vehicle fleet to 200 by next year as it seeks to contribute to efforts to improve air quality in the Indonesian capital city. It has calculated that its adoption of electric vehicles can eliminate over 434 tonnes of carbon dioxide and save 1.89 million liters of fuel per year.

The taxi company, established in 1976, has installed 11 charging stations at its headquarters in Mampang, south Jakarta.

The company's drivers spend on average IDR100,000, or US$7, on fuel per day, while it currently only costs about IDR30,000 for a full battery charge, which gives the e-taxis an equivalent range of 400 kilometres. 

The Blue Bird’s revenue has plunged in recent years in the wake of stiff competition from ride-hailing service providers Go-Jek and Grab. In April, the group announced it will invest about US$2.83 million in a electric taxi project.

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