New York launches all-electric pilot taxi program with Nissan Leaf EVs, fast chargers

Nissan Leaf New York City TaxiNissan and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg teamed up for the launch of a new electric vehicle taxi pilot program in the city with the Nissan Leaf that likely is a sign of things to come.

The program, which will place six Leafs into New York’s taxi service this spring, aims to help Nissan, the city and the public understand how zero emission vehicles can be integrated into future taxi fleets.

The announcement of the pilot program follows last year’s debut of the 2014 Nissan NV200 Taxi after Nissan won a two-year competitive bidding process to become the exclusive taxi of New York City beginning later this year.   

“As part of our commitment to zero emission vehicles for the mass-market, Nissan is looking for ways to broaden the use of electric cars, including commercial applications like taxis,” said Joe Castelli, vice president of Nissan Commercial Vehicles. “Following the selection of Nissan NV200 as New York City’s Taxi of Tomorrow, our relationship with the city provides us the ultimate proving ground to conduct this LEAF taxi pilot to help optimize the use of electric vehicle technology for future applications.”

May Michael Bloomberg added that while New York’s Taxi of Tomorrow program won’t be implemented for another six months, the Leaf program looks ahead to the future of the city’s taxi system.

“Nissan’s proven track record with electric vehicle will put us ahead of the curve in helping us answer important questions about incorporating electric taxis into the fleet so that we can achieve the goal of a one-third electric taxi fleet by 2020,” said Bloomberg.

Nissan-NV200-Taxi-Rendering-e1304435377394The Nissan NV200 that will be added to New York’s taxi fleet will feature a 2.0L 4-cylinder powertrain.  The carmaker, however, is also exploring an all-electric version of the van, which could be an indication that an all-electric NV200 taxi isn’t far behind. Nissan is already conducting a field study of an all-electric NV200 in partnership with FedEx in Singapore with plans for future vehicle testing in markets like the US, according to published reports.   

As part of the Leaf program, Nissan and its New York City partners will install several CHAdeMo-based DC quick chargers so drivers will be able to re-charge their electric taxis during their shift.  Nissan says that with quick charging, the Leaf can be charged to about 80 percent in under 30 minutes.  

Product Review

Mercedes-Benz updates the timeless G-wagen for the modern world

For decades, the G-Class has been an outlier in the Mercedes-Benz portfolio, a body-on-frame brute with the soul – and driving manners – of an off-road pickup. With the all-new G550, Mercedes seeks to smooth out some of the rough edges.
Business

Can Amazon deliver on plan to slash carbon footprint of shipments?

Amazon has announced an ambitious plan to halve its shipment carbon footprint by 2030. The company says improvements in electric vehicles, aviation bio fuels, reusable packaging, and renewable energy make the goal reachable.
Cars

Amazon plugs in with $700 million investment in electric pickup company Rivian

Amazon invested $700 million for a minority stake in U.S. all-electric truck maker Rivian, according to a joint release. The announcement follows a Reuters report that GM and Amazon might invest $1 billion to $2 billion in the company.
Computing

Breaking: Amazon won’t build headquarters in New York in face of opposition

Amazon has canceled plans for a New York City headquarters afer citizens, civic groups, and politicians pushed back on Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio's exclamation of economic joy over Amazon's earlier…
Cars

Honda’s Urban EV is shaping up to be a high-tech, high-style electric city car

Honda will travel to the 2019 Geneva Auto Show to unveil a close-to-production prototype that previews an adorable, city-friendly electric car. The Urban EV will offer about 155 miles of range, and its interior is a tech lover's dream come…
Cars

2019 RAM 1500 Classic Warlock special edition: Badass style without the whoop

If you like the looks of blacked-out badass trucks without the cost of a desert racer, FCA announced the 2019 Ram 1500 Classic Warlock, a special edition pickup that focuses on appearance with only a touch of additional off-road capability.
Cars

2020 GMC Acadia toughens up on the outside, gets smarter on the inside

The 2020 GMC Acadia crossover gets styling updates and a more rugged AT4 trim level. Under the skin, the Acadia sports a new turbocharged four-cylinder engine and a wider array of tech features.
Cars

Nissan is using old Leaf batteries to power and connect off-the-grid campers

Nissan has teamed up with trailer manufacturer Opus to design a mobile, weatherproof power pack built with battery cells sourced from the first-generation Leaf. Called Roam, the pack stores enough electricity to power a camper for up to a…
Cars

Alfa Romeo’s latest Ferrari-powered F1 race car is ready to hit the track

Alfa Romeo is doubling down on Formula One racing after a decades-long hiatus. Now essentially a support team for Ferrari, its 2019 driver lineup includes a former world champion and a potential future star.
Cars

Researchers teach self-driving cars to predict pedestrians’ next moves

University of Michigan researchers are developing a system that teaches self-driving cars to predict pedestrian movement. Humans don't always act in their own best self-interest, so autonomous cars will need to practice protective driving.
Cars

Subaru’s latest VIZIV concept car is pumped full of adrenaline

The Subaru VIZIV Adrenaline is the seventh member of the Japanese automaker's family of VIZIV concept cars. It debuts at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show, but for now, all we're getting is a shadowy teaser image.
Cars

Audi is advancing the tech that teaches cars to talk to traffic lights

Audi is teaching its cars the language of traffic lights. The company developed technology that tells motorists what speed they should drive at in order to catch as many green lights as possible.
Cars

Waymo rules and Apple trails in California self-driving car benchmarks

California's DMV releases annual reports of self-driving car disengagements on public roads. In the most recent reports. Waymo had the best performance, GM Cruise came in second, and Apple's self-driving program was in last place.
Cars

Watch a modified Audi e-tron electric SUV drive straight up a ski slope

A modified Audi e-tron climbed up an 85-percent gradient on an Austrian ski slope in a tribute to a classic Audi commercial. The vehicle used for the stunt sported an extra electric motor and spiked tires.