U.S. Taxis Get Greener; Hybrid & Electric Cabs Increasing

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Hybrid New York Taxi by Flickr user Yodel Anecdotal

Hybrid New York Taxi by Flickr user Yodel Anecdotal

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For decades, the stalwart of the taxi ranks has been the full-size sedan.

Sturdy, simple and cheap to buy, cars like Ford's Crown Victoria have become part of the landscape in cities like New York. But with rising gas prices and concerns over emissions, things are really changing.

While not yet a dominant force in taxi fleets, hybrid and electric vehicles are increasingly popular as a way of cleaning up city fleets.

Initial concerns over the reliability of hybrids have long passed thanks to taxis still going strong at 300,000 miles, and electric vehicles are proving their worth in the environment to which they're most suited--inner cities.

Already comparatively green, as a method of transportation that foregoes car ownership, we've seen several electric fleets spring up over the last few years.

Arlington County, Virginia, is set to get its first electric taxi fleet soon. The fleet of 40 cars will be more high-tech than most, with rear-mounted iPads allowing passengers to browse the internet and search for local attractions.

Earth Techling reports that drivers would recharge at home, but additional charging stations would also be installed in the county as a whole.

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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Big cities getting greener

In New York, hybrids continue to dominate.

During the recent Hurricane Sandy disaster, taxi drivers were desperately trying to get hold of the hybrids, as long lines for gas stations crippled city road transport.

The high-mileage hybrids were able to operate back-to-back shifts while drivers in 12 mpg Crown Vics waited hours for fuel.

NYC is also considering electric taxis, likely to be based on the new Nissan NV200 "Taxi of Tomorrow" models. Nissan has already trialed a small fleet of Leafs in the city.

Chicago too has a 'Green Taxi Plan'. So far this has put mostly compressed natural gas vehicles on the roads, but hybrids and electric cars are part of the plan, too.

40 percent of the city's fleet is already "green", made up of hybrid and natural gas vehicles, and the city is aiming for a 75-80 percent green fleet (Sustainable Chicago pdf file).

And while there were concerns that the aforementioned Taxi of Tomorrow. would kill off NYC's hybrid fleet--6,000 vehicles from the city's 13,000 yellow cabs--it isn't hard to see hybrids remaining an important force, and electrics joining them as the technology improves.


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Comments (6)
  1. Arlington County, VA was set to get an all electric taxi fleet. Those plans have been scrapped. The County Board voted down the proposal of the all electric nissan leaf fleet. The vote was a couple of weeks ago.

  2. I have seen no report of that. Please site a source. Last I heard the County Board was only a recommendation and it was the PUC of the state of Virginia who has the last word.

  3. http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2012-12-10/local/35745225_1_wheelchair-accessible-vehicles-cabs-dominant-taxi

    if the Va PUC is the final authority, that would be awesome, but, i think right now it's a local politics problem. 4 families control the taxi business and it's an oligarchy to them

  4. http://www.sungazette.net/arlington/news/county-board-pulls-plug-on-electric-taxi-proposal/article_e161bbb6-438c-11e2-aad8-0019bb2963f4.html



  5. i read this blog and i also thinks that taxi cabs have great look,,and it will always attract people,,if any one wants travel with great facilities than Ur Cab Service offers limo taxi service in San Francisco and all over in bay area. We provide taxi cabs service and Limos for pickup and drop-offs at very reasonable and discounted mark ups.

  6. very interesting and beautiful blog for Taxi Cab. Thanks for sharing this blog..

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