Traditional American taxis have been based on the aging and massive Ford Crown Victoria. But a new millennium calls for new answers to transportation, and a Virginia taxi company wants to be on the cutting edge. The Electric Vehicle Taxicab Company hopes to provide customers with a modern transit experience via a fleet of electric cars equipped with Apple iPad tablets.
While electric vehicles are struggling to find willing customers in the consumer market, fleet sales hold a lot more promise. The Electric Vehicle Taxicab company will be based out of Arlington County, Virginia, right outside of Washington D.C. This major metro hub is an ideal location for an all-electric cab fleet, though the experiment is not without its challenges.
The Washington Examiner article does not specify what vehicles the EV Taxicab Company will use if it wins approval for their business plan. The Nissan Leaf is a prime candidate for obvious reasons, but with an EPA-rated range of 73-miles, drivers will be hard pressed to get a full day’s driving out of a single vehicle. Perhaps the complimentary WiFi and iPad will keep passengers occupied while they wait for a tow.
Even with a fleet of 40 electric taxis, that is only around 2,300 total miles of driving per day. Considering that, at least in New York City, the average taxi driver can expect to rack up 180 miles per 12-hour shift, the EV Taxicab Company would see drivers requiring at least one vehicle swap per shift. Maybe the driving demographic is different in Virginia, and it’s true that the average fare is only 5 miles…but getting back to the shop will require a few miles, as will driving around looking for another fare. That is why Nissan is fielding a small test fleet of EV taxis in New York, but is otherwise holding back.
There is a way around this though; the Tesla Model S. Sure, it costs almost twice as much as some other EVs, but the 60 kWh model is rated for 230 miles of driving range, more than enough for a day’s worth of driving. If you had the 85 kWh model, you could cruise for around 300 miles if you were light on the throttle. But then again, you’d have to charge a premium to potential fares to get a return-on-investment.
Is the world ready for electric taxicabs, or is the EV Taxicab Company getting ahead of itself?
Source: The Washington Examiner