New York's City Council Wants Electric Taxis: Why?

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2014 Nissan NV200 Taxi, New York City's Taxi of Tomorrow

2014 Nissan NV200 Taxi, New York City's Taxi of Tomorrow

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If you want to change things in New York City, it pays to take the long view.

Some real-estate deals take decades to assemble, with families hanging onto key development sites for generations.

So a recent bill introduced by two New York City Councilmembers can be viewed as the latest step in a long dance toward a big benefit for all New Yorkers: emission-free yellow cabs.

As reported in the Queens Times Ledger, Councilmen Mark Weprin (D-Queens) and James Vacca (D-Bronx) are drafting a bill that would encourage the city's powerful Taxi & Limousine Commission to approve electric cars for use as medallion taxis.

Nissan will be testing four Leaf battery-electric cars in taxi use this year.

It's also the company whose design was chosen as the "Taxi of Tomorrow" in a competition to create a new, safer, more comfortable, and more fuel-efficient taxi to replace the discontinued Ford Crown Victoria--which taxi owners loved for its low costs, never mind what the passengers thought or felt.

Prototype of 2012 Nissan Leaf as New York City taxi cab

Prototype of 2012 Nissan Leaf as New York City taxi cab

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The NYC Taxi of Tomorrow is based on the Nissan NV 200 small passenger van, but with significant updates and improvements for passenger safety and comfort.

So far, only a four-cylinder gasoline engine has been announced.

But there will undoubtedly be a hybrid model, even if Nissan hasn't yet announced it. The TLC is big on hybrids to reduce emissions in stop-and-go city use.

There's a kicker, too.

An all-electric version of the NV 200 is being tested by both the Japan Post Service and FedEx in London.

And that's the vehicle that will likely get approved by the TLC for use as an electric taxi in New York, following the launch of gasoline and/or hybrid models of the new cab.

Nissan e-NV 200 Concept electric minivan, 2012 Detroit Auto Show

Nissan e-NV 200 Concept electric minivan, 2012 Detroit Auto Show

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The first Taxis of Tomorrow won't go into service for at least a year, and they won't be seen in bulk on NYC streets until 2015 or so.

The Weprin/Vacca bill just nudges the process along a bit. Stay tuned for more news on this topic--eventually.

Hey, whaddaya so impatient for? These things take time.

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