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Hail a cab in New York City soon and you might step into a Tesla

The New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) has recently added the Tesla Model 3 to the list of twenty approved vehicles to be taxi cabs in the city and it is the only electric vehicle (EV) on the list. TLC executives did not indicate who requested adding the Tesla to the list for the certification and inspection that is required to gain approval.

To qualify, a Tesla will need that all too familiar Dupont M6284 yellow paint job, proper signage, interior security cameras, and a fare meter. Once outfitted, the vehicle can run for seven years under an unrestricted medallion issued by the TLC.  In a study of NYC taxi cabs, they were found to average 192 miles per day, which fits the 240-mile range that the Model 3 offers. New York City also has Tesla-friendly charging stations throughout the five boroughs.

In a CNN report CEO Elon Musk has promised a million-strong network of autonomous robo-taxis by 2020. New York City’s approval could be a big step toward that goal. The self-driving vehicles would compete with ride-hailing services such as Uber and Lyft. Musk envisions a program that would let Tesla owners rent out their vehicles when they are not using it with Tesla extracting a cut of the revenue and the remainder going to the owner.

This is far from the first time that Tesla has been part of a taxi fleet or ride-hailing service. Currently, the Tesla is being hailed as a complete success in a Stockholm, Sweden program per a published 2018 report.  Tesla taxi cabs are also doing well in Columbus, Ohio, with ten Model 3 units in service. In Madison, Wisconsin a fleet of 20 Tesla vehicles took to the streets for Green Cab, which previously featured an all Hybrid fleet.

This will be an important test case for New York City as well as Tesla as it will become evident quickly if the Tesla drivetrain can stand up to one of the toughest environments in the world for a taxi cab. Wintertime will also show results as extended HVAC use, the greatest drain on an electric vehicle drivetrain, will see if vehicle range suffers.

John Elkin
Worked for many off road and rally and sports car publications throughout the 1980s and 1990s. Decided to go look for a…
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