New York Cabs To Go Hybrid by 2012

May 23, 2007: Source – Reuters

NYC Hybrid Taxi

It’s taken a while for New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to realize that hybrid taxis are a no-brainer. Yesterday, he announced a plan that would require all of the Big Apple’s taxi cabs to be gas-electric hybrids by 2012.

This announcement makes Evgeny Freidman, fleet manager for three different New York-based taxi companies, look like a soothsayer. It’s also a vindication of Freidman’s struggle to make New York’s yellow cabs a bit greener. HybridCars.com spoke with Mr. Freidman in 2005, soon after he purchased the first 18 of New York City’s taxi medallions targeted for use with hybrid or natural gas cabs. At that time, Freidman said, “Within five to ten years, all New York City cabs will be hybrids or some other type of alternative vehicle."

In 2004, Freidman spent $222,743 (one-third less than the cost of a regular medallion) for each of the licenses. Unfortunately, he had to sue the Commission to use the medallion and put the hybrid taxis into service. The Commission had argued unsuccessfully that hybrids lack sufficient legroom. By March 2006, Freidman had purchased an additional hybrid medallion and put 19 Ford Escape Hybrids on New York City streets. "People love the ride, and the drivers are very happy," Friedman said. "It’s an economic issue for them. They save $20 per shift [on gas].”

According to Reuters, New York City now has 375 hybrids taxis on the road. Bloomberg’s plan calls for an additional 1,000 hybrid taxis to be introduced by October 2008, and the rest of the city’s 13,000 taxi cabs by 2012.

“It will be the largest, cleanest fleet of taxis anywhere on the Planet,” said Bloomberg. “And because taxis are so heavily used, the new standard will have the equivalent of removing 30,000 individually-owned gas-powered vehicles from our streets.”

The move to hybrid taxi cabs in New York City will also create a model for other major cities around the world to follow. Hybrid taxis have also been put in use in Vancouver, London, and San Francisco.

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  • Jerry

    I was in NY recently and when the hybrid buses went by it was amazly clear with out the typical smoke Hopefully the buses will be mandated to change as well

  • Katelynn

    GREAT

  • J. Winker

    This may make sense from an environmental perspective, and even economically, but I cringe at the government pushing yet another unfunded mandate on what I presume to be private companies. I live in MN, and we are facing a self-imposed mandate of using E20 (and only E20) in all automobiles by around 2013 — never mind that most cars were not and will not be designed for this fuel, and never mind that research conducted on behalf of the Australian government several years ago persuaded that government to forswear the sale of E20 in that contry, because that research showed cars experiencing side-effects that would prompt a reasonable driver to conclude that something was wrong with their vehicle.
    If the government wants to push technology — even very good technology — they should be the ones to take the first step and commit to it before forcing it on the private sector. If the government of California had committed to replacing its entire governmental fleet with zero-emission vehicles (i.e., EV-1′s) as a vote of confidence in the techology, perhaps GM would have been moved to create something with a future, instead of the technological belly-flop we got instead.

  • Shelby McCarthy

    I think that that is a great idea. There are a lot of cabs..A lot.

  • Ramzi Razian

    Dubai – The first city in the Arab World announced a plan to phase out all 8,000 Taxi by Hybrid in 3 – 4 years.

  • Maya the Medic

    I think Bloomberg is going in the right direction with this… with one major drawback. What about the vehicles the city uses? Police vehicles, emergency vehicles (I work on an ambulance that drinks diesel like it were water; why can’t we go to biodiesel for those? Or, God forbid, biodiesel-electric?) The hybrid busses are AMAZING, I’d really like to see the whole of city services go green. I know that the DEP (Dept. Environ. Protect.) already drives hybrids, which I laude them for, but what about the limos, diplomat vehicles, cop cars, fire engines, ambulances, garbage trucks, all of that?

    My other concern, as a native New Yorker, is where the money is going to come from. Bloomberg also wants to restrict midtown traffic and make it $8 a day to drive in midtown, and $21 for trucks… which, ok, congestion, but that plan is MADNESS. Where is the money going to come from? I’m going to see apples go for $5 apiece because the delivery trucks need to pay for their passage into and out of the city! Not to mention that tollbooths slow traffic down more than the congestion does. More than that, if I’m on an emergency call, I don’t want to have to slow down and pay a friggin toll to get to my patient. Still, the bottom line is, who pays for it? The busses went green and they hiked the price of getting on one (they’re trying to do it again, too). Now they’re going to force companies to replace, what, 30,000 cabs in 5 years? No matter WHAT kind of incentives people are going to be offered, the price of sitting down in a New York City cab is going to go up, especially if the rules about having GPS and credit card machines go into effect. I’d love to see the congestion and emissions levels go down, but I’m really kind of upset by the idea of the price hikes that are sure to follow.

    I think what we REALLY need to make this work is for Chrysler to put out a version of the Crown Victoria (staple of cabs and police vehicles in the city for YEARS now, though the cops are switching over to something else that I can’t remember), for Lincoln to hybridize the Town Car, and for Ford to make hybrid-biodiesel versions of the F-series and E-series. Does anyone know if plans like that are in the works, or do electrics just not have the kind of horsepower those vehicles need? Lord knows we in the ambulance community are in love with our twin-turbos…

  • Ramzi Razian

    In the next 5 years the world will witness a radical change from ordinary gasoline driven vehicles to Hybrid, I’m quite disappointed to see a slow progress among US main auto manufacturer, ..

  • Ramzi Razian

    Taxis To Go Green Dubai taxis to go green
    A ground-breaking decision to introduce hybrid vehicles into Dubai’s taxi fleet was announced yesterday.
    The Dubai Government said the move to hybrid technology in the 6,000-strong fleet of taxis would be a gradual one.
    It will cut both carbon dioxide emissions and pollution.

    The decision follows the directives of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, that environmental issues should be given priority, as highlighted in the Dubai Strategic Plan 2015.
    Other major cities which have already introduced hybrid taxis include London, Chicago and New York.

    Source; Gulf News

  • D C

    GPS tracking and cellular burst controls add up to a threat to national security. Are there safeguards to prevent terrorists from hijacking the system and connecting blasting caps to the door lock circuit? They are probably using this technology already now in Iraq via recently launched satellites in Iran. On the other hand, don’t listen to me. I’m only just a dishwasher.

  • khatereh

    hi. are you my family?