Will taxi drivers be willing to charge electric cars instead of filling up at a gas station? That's what the Taxi and Limousine Commission wants to know, so NYC has put six electric cars—the Nissan Leaf—on the street. If NYC had an all-electric taxi fleet, carbon dioxide emissions would drop by 90,000 tons annually.
However, the challenge is whether taxi drivers will be down: TLC Commissioner David Yassky told the NY Times, "It’s to figure out how a taxi driver can integrate 60 to 90 minutes of charging into a day. Frankly, just as important, it’s to show other taxi drivers that it can be done." It's believed 30 minutes of charging can give drivers about 80 miles of driving in the city, and drivers say they usually rack up 100 miles a day.
The six drivers who volunteered for the program are allowed to turn away passengers due their destinations (Yassky said, "They’re pioneers. We want to give them the leeway."). Some drivers have charging stations at their homes while some have been put in the Lower East Side, Far West Side and Union Square. FWIW: It costs taxi drivers $17,500 for gas in a year.
While the Taxi Worker Alliance's Bhairavi Desai is very skeptical of an all-electric fleet, some drivers like the idea, pointing out that charging would force them to take breaks. One even thinks there's a great business model by putting businesses near the charging stations, "For taxi drivers, washroom is the biggest problem. We go to Starbucks."
Anyway, Mayor Bloomberg wants to make one third of the taxi fleet electric by 2020. The mayor rode in one today and urged other New Yorkers to try them out, "I could actually read. It was smooth and quiet. It was nice."