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High-tech cabs hit the mean streets of New York City

New York City will put the city’s first EV taxis on the streets in early 2012.


New York City’s Taxi & Limousine Commission (TLC) will put the city’s first EV taxis on the streets in early 2012. In a pilot program, six Nissan Leaf EVs will perform normal taxi service for up to a year, and the lessons learned will guide the agency as it decides how to handle the future of public transport in the Big Apple. The TLC is now taking applications from drivers who want to try one of the six corded cabs.

New York is actually a little behind some of its fellow megalopoli in the EV taxi derby. While the TLC has been busily replacing the classic gas-guzzling Crown Vics with Ford Escape hybrids, these six will be the first all-electric taxis in Gotham. Meanwhile, Mexico City will deploy 100 Leafs, and a network of solar-powered charging stations, by the end of 2011. In Asia, Tokyo, Shenzhen and Hangzhou have also launched pilot e-taxi fleets.

EVs as big city taxis have pros and cons. Because taxis roll all day, they can account for a big chunk of a city’s auto emissions. But because they roll all day, a limited range isn’t acceptable. Cabbies tend to cuss when their batteries die just as they were about to start making some money for the day. So any city that deploys a fleet of EV cabs will need a comprehensive network of fast charging stations (or a battery-changing station, like the one Better Place operates in Tokyo).


Image: Nissan

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