The iconic little rounded-off black diesel taxis of London are about to get a run for their money – albeit a small one – from Chinese EV automaker BYD in the next few weeks as the company rolls 50 of its electric minivans onto the streets of the English capital.
BYD stands for “Build Your Dreams.” Though the name is quite silly, the company employs more than 170,000 people worldwide and currently stands as China’s biggest electric vehicle automaker, according to an Autocar report.
Founded in 1995, BYD hit a sales peak in 2009 but has faced losses since. With this small but significant move, BYD hopes to assuage the British people’s cynicism for Chinese-made cars. If it can overcome its negative public image and begin to sell cars in the open consumer market, it stands to make a great deal of money.
BYD faces more than just a PR hill climb. Electric cars simply haven’t caught on in the U.K. at the level they have elsewhere in the western world.
China, however, has put an increased focus on electric cars as its oil reserves are relatively low. Additionally, EVs could help cut some of the terrible pollution problems faced by many of China’s major cities.
We’ll have to wait and see if the new Chinese EV taxis catch on in London and turn into something more than just a novelty.