The Cost of Driving a Taxi/PHV

Electric car Charging

I drove a taxi/Uber/Grab for six years. In that time, I drove at least 500,000 km. In Singapore, the average motorist drives about 20,000 km in a year. In those six years, I drove the equivalent of 25 years for an average motorist.

My first car that I bought was back in 1997. I won’t be getting a car anytime soon and I prefer to simply get a Grab car to bring me around.

When I drove for a living, I didn’t have a so-called relief driver, so the costs are all to me. The costs are the vehicle rental, fuel costs and season parking charges.

I don’t have to worry about insurance, road tax and maintenance cost. The cost is in the daily rental that I pay.

For taxis, they are now converting their fleet to hybrid and electric cars. Diesel cars are being phased out. For private hire vehicles (PHV) there are petrol-driven, hybrids and electric cars.

Below is a table showing the costs of driving the several types of cars. These figures are from my experience of driving. Usually, the average daily mileage is around 250km.

Vehicle TypeDaily RentalFuel CostTotal Daily Cost
Hybrid Taxi$130$30 to $35$160 to $165
PHV Car Petrol$45 to $55$65 to $75$110 to $130
PHV Car Hybrid$70 to $80$30 to $35$100 to $115
PHV Car Electric$80$20 to $25$100 to $105

The cost of car rental depends on how new it is. For a brand-new car, the rental is usually much higher. The daily rental can even be lowered if you are willing to commit for at least a year.

A couple of things to look out for in driving hybrid cars. When the mileage is around 250,000 km, the battery condition has worsened significantly. You won’t get much fuel consumption savings.

That was my experience when I was driving the hybrid taxi. The operator refused to change the battery because the car is drivable and it’s not a safety issue.

The same thing happened when I drove another hybrid car. The mileage was about 150,000 km. What happened was that the catalytic converter became faulty. I had the engine check light constantly illuminated in my dashboard. The workshop simply “chemical cleans” it, and the leasing company doesn’t want to replace it. Their reasoning is, “It’s not a safety issue”.

Thankfully for both, my lease was about to expire, and I simply returned the car.

Charging at Great World City

The best car to drive is an electric car. It’s quiet, with no vibrations thus reducing fatigue and near instant torque. I can reach 100 kph in around 6 seconds.

I can take a break in the car with the aircon fully running. There are no emissions and if you walk past, you won’t even realized that the car is running.

What about charging? I used the fast chargers by Singapore Power. The charging points have increased and usually I charge up to 80% and it’s good enough. It takes about 30 to 40 minutes. I won’t charge it to full because that takes another hour to do it.

I’m always surprised that some drivers insist on charging to 100%. That takes about 1hr 30 mins. Why does it take that long? When the battery is charged to 80%, it automatically slows down the charger. It is to protect the battery. Singapore is such a small city/country, you won’t be out of range. If that happens, it simply means you are a driver that can’t plan his driving well.

What about driving your own car? That is not advisable. You must get your own commercial insurance; maintenance cost is all on you and you need to transfer your car to your own company (buy and sell agreement). I know it can be tough because you may have been out of work. The best is simply to sell your car, bear the losses (it will always be a loss) and lease a car to drive.

I hope this post is informative for those who wants to know the cost of driving a PHV car in Singapore.



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