More info on New York City LEAF taxis

by Ernie Hernandez on October 29, 2011

Nissan LEAF NYC taxiSix cab operators to get LEAF free for one year

So… what’s the catch? Nissan and New York City want to get feedback from drivers, owners, passengers, and the public about their experience. Sounds like a small price to pay to us.

The pilot program will begin in the spring of 2012 with six model year 2012 Nissan LEAFs. The New York City Taxi & Limousine Commission (TLC) will hold two informational meetings next month. These sessions will provide information on eligibility for the program for both owner-drivers and fleet operators. Pretty basic parameters: A good driving record, no deadbeats (no outstanding summonses or unpaid parking tickets), internet access and the willingness to share success and failure information with both Nissan and the TLC. Indeed, perhaps the greatest challenge will be a willingness to speak publicly about their experience with the Nissan LEAF as a taxi. Many of us know how reticent those NYC cab drivers can be when it comes to a conversation. Should more than six applicants apply (which we think is highly likely), participants will be selected by random drawings.

New York City will not be the first major city to use the LEAF for taxi service. Last month Nissan announced the delivery to Mexico City of the first three of 100 LEAFs to be used in taxi service in that city. And while we know of LEAF taxis in Japan, we can’t seem to find any articles about them. We did see this one article about a single LEAF taxi purchased by one company to be used in limited service in Fukuoka City. The delivery for that vehicle was in February. It would be interesting to see a follow-up on its service and performance.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Tom K October 30, 2011 at 9:52 am

Yellow is not my color but I hope the project is sucessful.

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Ilya Haykinson October 31, 2011 at 3:01 am

I cannot imagine how this is considered a good idea. I would imagine most taxi drivers in NYC drive more than ~70 miles per day, which would place them at the extended end of the LEAF’s range. Add to this the fact that cars are often shared in shifts (i.e. never get downtime), thus leaving no time for charging. And given that drivers are not supposed to be able to decline a ride to any location within the 5 boroughs, this experiment is going to be over pretty quickly.

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Ernie Hernandez (LEAFguy) November 1, 2011 at 7:21 pm

Ilya – welcome to Living LEAF. We don’t claim to know what is required of a New York City taxi driver regarding accepting or declining passengers requests. And while we accept that most NYC taxi drivers will drive more than 70 miles per day, we also accept that a function of this test will be incorporating the frequent use of a DC fast charger to keep the vehicle available to earn money. In fact, rather than to provide a brief comment here, your comments are so provocative, you have given me another topic for my next post.

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Ilya Haykinson November 2, 2011 at 12:30 am

Thanks for responding to me with the additional research in another article. As a LEAF owner, I certainly hope to be able to see my favorite car on the roads of NYC (however unlikely it is for me to bump into one, admittedly). And your research does provide some hope that the experiment will be workable. However, I remember reading that NYC had some trouble convincing taxi drivers to transition to hybrids, so I still think that it’ll be a long, long road from experiment to any sort of real use for these LEAFcabs.

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