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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Comments (3)
  1. This is a no-brainer. The "low hanging fruits" of EV employment are task oriented P2P (point to point) vehicles. The night time charging opportunities are attractive as well. I would much rather have my tax dollars subsidizing an EV taxi program than offsetting the cost of "eco-bling" for my neighbors second or third car.

  2. Well, electric taxis would certainly create a more sympathetic image for this city that isn't exactly universally loved if the events of 9/11 are any indication. Rather worryingly those forces of hate have only grown stronger since. Brilliantly exploiting its position as a major oil exporter and supported by America's main rivals Russia and China, Iran is currently moving inexorably towards nuclear capability and I wouldn't be at all surprised if the maniacal mullahs of the apocalypse called it the "Manhattan Project" as an inside joke. Too gloomy? It certainly puts the relevance of new energy vehicles into perspective. They could be the cure for oil addiction, but maybe the damage has already been done. So yeah, what's the hurry...

  3. In large cities such as New York or Los Angeles EV taxi's make sense. They are quiet and have no emissions and taxi's often spend time sitting in urban traffic and parked curbside so they are not always being driven lots of miles so 100 mile range works well. Also they could be partially recharged with solar charging stations put on the roof of the Garages they are parked in. Solar panels installed on top of your garage or carport will mean a sustainable future for EV's as Elon Musk had mentioned before. What I don’t understand is Republican’s are all for energy independence but some of them fail to realize that the only way we can become truly independent is to get off our oil addition. Hopefully we will before we have to go to war for oil

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