The Tesla Model S Taxi Starts Service On Both Coasts


tesla-taxiThe Tesla Model S is popping up in taxi and chauffeur fleets from coast to coast, partly to gauge customer reaction, and partly to see if the electric sedan has the chops to handle being a livery vehicle.

In Los Angeles, Strack Transportation will be the first to see how customers react to being picked up in the Tesla Model S; and if it is a viable business option considering the cost of the vehicle and battery range give the LA traffic. However, with a 265 mile range the battery should not be a problem in a major metropolitan area.

Meanwhile in Boston, the app based cab service Uber and UberX is offering an “Easter egg” of sorts in honor of the Boston Marathon though the help of Tesla Motors. For a limited time, users of the UberX app in the Boston area will have a chance to be picked up in a Tesla Model S. The user can not request the vehicle – it just shows up if you are requesting car service in the Tesla driver’s area at that time. To add to the fun if you are picked up in the Tesla you also get a free pair New Balance’s new glow-in-the-dark 890v3 sneakers.

According to Uber, the Tesla will be becoming available through Uber Black, the more posh car service wing of the program, but the Tesla will be available on UBERx in order to promote the product.

There are other companies, including Nissan, which are experimenting with fleets of EVs and hybrids to serve as livery vehicles, but most electric cars lack the range for a full 12-hour shift of driving people around. The typical New York taxi driver covers 180 miles per shift, more than double what most EVs are capable of.

The Tesla Model S is the exception, with an EPA-rated range of up to 265 miles. But there is more to being a taxi than just driving far; the Tesla will have to prove to be just as reliable, and less costly to maintain, than fleet staples like the Ford Crown Victoria or Chevrolet Impala. Is the Tesla up to the task of taxi vehicle?


Andrew Meggison was born in the state of Maine and educated in Massachusetts. Andrew earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Government and International Relations from Clark University and a Master’s Degree in Political Science from Northeastern University. Being an Eagle Scout, Andrew has a passion for all things environmental. In his free time Andrew enjoys writing, exploring the great outdoors, a good film, and a creative cocktail. You can follow Andrew on Twitter @AndrewMeggison 

About the Author

Andrew Meggison was born in the state of Maine and educated in Massachusetts. Andrew earned a Bachelor's Degree in Government and International Relations from Clark University and a Master's Degree in Political Science from Northeastern University. In his free time Andrew enjoys writing, exploring the great outdoors, a good film, and a creative cocktail. You can follow Andrew on Twitter @AndrewMeggison
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  • First in a cascade of events spelling the end of the low compression 23% efficient gasoline piston engines running on gasahol now in America. Greedy petrol giants “upped” the price of diesel fuel, missed the ‘window of opportunity” and America is going electric as fast a China will.

  • Dicey

    Very encouraging to see the Tesla being tested in this role. Obviously, its a lot more expensive than the current options, but if it can prove its worth and be more efficient to run, there’s no reason it can’t begin to take hold.

  • james thurber

    One has to wonder if it wouldn’t be better to simply convert to taxis running on compressed natural gas.

    • Phil Williamson

      Simpler, yes. Economical, no. A crown vic costs us around $26,000 a year in gas (one shift). A hybrid costs us about 1/3 less. Pure electric drops our “fuel” costs to around 5 cents a mile.
      Natural gas is just another fossil fuel that needs an internal combustion engine that allows most of the energy to right out the tailpipe.
      A bad (as in terrible design) electric car is still better than 75% efficient… just the opposite of an gas engine.
      A record was set in Germany. Their solar panels generated more power than 20 (twenty) nuclear power plants.
      The future is with electric driven vehicles. The torque is absolutely wonderful.

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  • Someone will be an idiot who is buying 100k car to use on taxi, it is very expensive. Sacramento Taxi

    • Phil Williamson

      And people throwing away money for gas are greater idiots. These cars will pay for themselves in a few years. After that…it’s money in the pocket. So, go ahead and spend 15-25K a year on gas.
      And FYI, Tesla is providing special pricing and packages for taxi use. Even without the price difference, your $100k is off by $40,000. Check on the prices before typing on your keyboard.

      • TedKidd

        I suspect the analysis smart livery owners make is cost per mile over the car’s life.

        Crown Vic probably costs 50 cents, Prius might be 35 cents, at these interest rates a car with fuel cost 1/10 of a crown vic can probably justify the added interest and capital cost pretty quickly. If the Tesla is 25 cents, suggesting that’s a bad idea indicates inability to do the math.

        If it’s your BUSINESS and you don’t do the math, does that indicate ignorance, or does it indicate stupidity? If the latter, do you think you can fix stupid? I think ignorance is fixable, but I don’t think you can fix stupid…

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  • camosoul

    “Is the Tesla up to the task of taxi vehicle?”

    Does a bear sh!t in the woods?

    How is this even a question?

  • Jim Freeman

    The Proposed Model Y Should be a Tesla Taxi

    up-coming Model III (the mid-size $35,000 sedan) might well be offered in a
    second body style, specifically designed to appeal to the inner-city taxi
    market. Styled on an updated version of the famous London cab, passengers would
    again be able to enter and exit with some shred of dignity. Hundreds of millions
    of beleaguered city dwellers worldwide would be exposed to an elegant ride in a
    Tesla, expanding the middle-market brand and delivering them silently and
    pollution free to their destination.

    Now there’s an environmental statement where it’s most needed. Beijing has 60,000
    licensed cabs and desperately needs twice that number, but doesn’t know how to
    approach the issue. Uber is opening globally in a city a day. Tesla will either
    follow that market with the Model III (as other mid-size electric sedans) or
    lead it brilliantly with a tailored product.

    a clue from the famous ‘London Cab,’ Tesla might elegantly update the London’s
    ‘walk in, walk out’ design for six adults and generous luggage capacity
    combined with a famously maneuverable 25 foot turning circle. Smaller motors
    and a 65mph top speed would significantly increase driving range—it is, after
    all, a city cab built on the model III platform. Inner-city charging stations
    would blossom.

    taxis will come to the world’s cities
    with a variety of carmakers offering their sedans as taxis. Cities will accept
    that as the best they can get and we, the world’s weary cab-hailers will continue
    to fold ourselves like origami trying to enter and exit with what’s left of that
    long-lost dignity.

    can break that code, broaden their brand recognition, contribute to airing-out
    our choking cities and electrify the public conscience—all with one terrific new
    body style, specifically for use as a taxi. Millions of additional sales (or
    leases to facilitate entry-level acquisition) return to Tesla as a plus on the
    cash-flow side.

    wouldn’t that be a win-win move for both Tesla and the environment?