Increased environmental regulations in cities across the world and a desire to cut fuel costs have made the advantages of natural gas vehicles (NGVs) obvious to taxi companies such as Taxi Düsseldorf eG, the biggest taxi company operating in the city of Düsseldorf, reports Blue Corridor. The cooperative-managed company now operates more than 250 natural gas fuelled taxis.
Committing to NGVs in 2006, the company built a refueling station on its grounds, only to find that in a short time they reached capacity and had to double the size of the facility. Revenues have reportedly increased 70% since that time; so to has the CNG refuelling network which has facilitated further NGV growth.
Although the company is happy to have green credentials, it was price rather than ecological considerations that played a major part in the decision to switch to natural gas. Nevertheless, the introduction of “low emissions zones” in some German cities presented no problems for these taxis and low-emission fares are popular with clients.
In an interview with Blue Corridor in July, Dennis Klusmeier, chairman of Taxi Düsseldorf eG, urged “politicians not to crush the delicate bloom of natural gas vehicles and give this type of fuel a real chance by providing long term tax advantages. When switching to NGVs, people need to be certain that the regulatory framework stays stable for the years to come.”
The company’s vehicles are bi-fuel (bivalent), with a fleet preference for two models — the Mercedes-Benz E 200 and the VW Touran.