One of the cool cleantech programs I found out about on my trip last week to Ukraine* was an electric vehicle (EV) taxi program that is supposed to start there very soon. It seems that a few final bureaucratic details need to be confirmed, but once they are, 200 EV taxis will be hitting the streets of Kiev. (That’s a lot more than the 6 launched in New York City’s EV taxi pilot program!)
Luckily, on my last day in Ukraine, I got to ride in one of the Bio Auto cars that will be used for the taxi service (as well as two other EVs — a gasmobile converted into an EV and a completely handmade EV from a 75-year-old Ukrainian inventor**). Below are two videos from that day, as well as one from a previous day. The first video includes Alternativa Acting Director Yuliya Malko (the blond lady) and representatives of Bio Auto talking about the EV taxi service and the Bio Auto EV. The second one is from my test ride in one of the Bio Auto cars. And the third one is from a meeting with Yuliya Malko and Vadim Utkin, CEO of Yunasko (a very promising-looking ultracapacitor company based in Kiev). I’ve also included some pictures of the car and of other Bio Auto EVs (the grass-covered one is particularly popular).
One thing not mentioned in the videos is that the EV taxi program will actually have a social support component to it as well. Low-income and disabled people will benefit from lower rates than normal users. Check out the pics and videos for more:
As mentioned in the second video above, the car has excellent pickup, offers an extremely smooth ride, and is super quiet (with just that cool electric sound that made me feel like I was on a Star Trek spaceship or something). Have to love EVs! And if you haven’t ridden in or driven one, you should really try it out.
I’m sure local residents of Kiev will appreciate the decreased air pollution and decreased noise as Bio Auto and other EV taxis become more and more common in the city. Also, millions of others (such as myself) appreciate the cut in global warming pollution. A big kudos to the local cleantech leaders who have made this first big step towards an EV future in Kiev!
*Full disclosure: my trip to and around Ukraine was supported by greencubator, Activ Solar, and Alternativa. The EV meet-up was very enthusiastically and generously organized by Alternativa, while the initial lunch meeting with Yuliya, Vadim, and others (nearly one week prior) was organized by greencubator.
**In case you’re curious about the other EVs mentioned above, a coming post will include videos of those, including interviews with their creators.