The 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