Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Nissan Begins Leaf Taxi Testing in New York City

Back in September Ford finally ended production of the Crown Victoria, ending the era of large, rear-wheel drive American sedans, probably forever. It has also created a huge gap in taxi fleets and police manucipalities across the country, as the Crown Vic served as the core of their fleet. So can an electric vehicle fill that footprint? Nissan thinks so, and is beginning a pilot program in New York City to study the feasibility of electric taxi cabs.

Having already won the bid to build the next generation of New York Cabs with the NV200, Nissan is looking towards an electric cab future now with the Leaf EV. The Leaf certainly has its work cut out for it as a New York taxi cab. PBS reports that during the average 12-hour shift, a NYC cab drives around 180 miles. Many cabs are used for double shifts, and it is not unusual for these cabs to wrack up 70,000 miles or more in a single year. One of the main reasons the Crown Vic was so popular was its die-hard reliability. Not many vehicles can handle the rigors of taxi life, but the Crown Vic was King of the Cabs from coast to coast.

The inherent advantages of electric vehicles, cheap cost and few moving parts, would represent a major windfall for taxi cab operators. The two biggest costs of business are fuel and repairs, and with gas still over $3.50 a gallon in many areas, taxi services have had to increase their prices just to make ends meet. A reliable, longer-range electric vehicle, even if it cost twice what a normal cab costs, would definitely pay for itself in the long run.

My immediate thought is, how does a family of 5 fit into the back of this?!


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