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A fleet of 120 electric taxis offering “zero contact” transport will launch in Sydney in the coming weeks, the first in a planned 2,000 fleet.

The zero-emissions axis are built by Chinese car-maker BYD and have been imported by Nexport – parent company of ETaxiCo.

“We believe it will inspire the taxi market to move organically towards to EV take up instead of ICE or hybrid,” said Luke Todd, managing director of Nexport.

“While we applaud the efforts to date of many operators moving to hybrid, we are looking at taking it to the next level of complete zero-emissions vehicles which will become mainstream in coming years.”

Todd said he hopes the program will encourage a return to using taxis, which had been in rapid decline due to ride-sharing companies such as Uber.

However, it’s been reported that delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic have pushed back the launch of the first batch of the “Clean Air Taxis” by at least a month.

The fleet will first launch at three sites in the Northern Beaches council area as part of a six-month trial, but Todd says that ETaxiCo is keen to partner with more councils to reach their goal of 2,000 vehicles by the end of 2021.