Istanbul’s Beyoğlu Municipality and the Istanbul Chamber of Taxi Drivers (İTEO) introduced electric taxis, to be used in the city for the first time, a joint sahur event (Ramadan pre-fast meal) on June 16 in Taksim Square.
The event was joined by host Beyoğlu Mayor Ahmet Misbah Demircan, İETO head Yahya Uğur, and several taxi drivers, Doğan News Agency reported.
“Tonight’s surprise was electric vehicles. People on earth need renewable energy as well as vehicles that are sensitive and less harmful to the environment. In Turkey, our taxi drivers’ sensitivity to this issue is beautiful. I thank all of our taxi drivers for their labor as well as their self-sacrifice for Istanbul’s transportation,” Demircan told reporters at the event.
The mayor also took a short drive around the square in one of the new electric taxis.
Uğur also spoke at the event, praising the comfort of the new taxis.
“It is very important for us to ensure the comfort of our customers. For this, we as Istanbul’s taxi drivers are creating joint projects together with the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality. To announce this we need such an environment of brotherhood. I would like to thank our Beyoğlu mayor for this organization,” he said.
Sales representative Viacheslav Luchnykov told reporters that the new electric taxis could travel a distance of 300 kilometers on full charge.
“The taxis can also reach as much as to 140 kilometers per hour. They are small on the outside but large on the inside, so they are appropriate for Istanbul traffic. The price is normally 130,000 Turkish Liras, but as this price is high for our taxi driver friends we [the municipality] have helped them with the cost provided a convenience for them,” he said.
“We have prepared an all-inclusive package for taxi drivers. In line with an Eid [feast following Ramadan] campaign, they can buy one of these vehicles in installments over 60 months, paying 5,500 Turkish Liras per month. This package provides the vehicle’s periodic maintenance, utilization of charging stations, insurance and road assistance,” he added.
“Our target is for between 500 and 600 electric vehicles to be on the road by the end of 2017,” Luchnykov said.