Renault Samsung Motors said Friday that it will work with the city of Seoul to operate a small fleet of electric car taxicabs that can help validate the use of zero-emission vehicles in the public transportation sector.
The memorandum of understanding calls for the South Korean unit of French automaker Renault S.A. to supply 10 SM3 ZEs to a local taxi company free of charge so they can be used to service passengers.
|Renault Samsung Motors’ CEO Francois Provost (third from left) poses with Seoul City Mayor Park Won-soon (fourth from left) and others after signing an MOU marking their partnership in operating electric-powered taxis. (Renault Samsung Motors)|
The SM3 ZE, which began mass production in 2013, is the only EV made in the country that has enough interior space to make them useful as taxis. The company said it sold 398 units last year, making the vehicle the country’s best selling EV, while sales numbers reached 165 in the first seven months of this year. The compact cars are priced between 19 million won ($18,700) and the low 20 million won range, depending on the amount of the subsidies provided by local governments.
The trial test will be carried out from September through April, with the city government to exempt these taxis from paying tolls when they use tunnels running under Mount Nam in central Seoul. It will also offer quick recharge facilities to taxi drivers for free. These cars will, moreover, benefit from substantially lower parking fees if they use city-run parking garages.
The carmaker, for its part, will provide speedy maintenance services to the taxi operator, with the Korea Environment Corp. to set up more EV recharging stations in the capital. (Yonhap)