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.