A quick salute to the City Council of New York City: it unanimously approved a law allowing cab companies to make use of hybrid taxicabs. Given that 93% of the city's nearly 13,000 cabs are now 12 mile-per-gallon Crown Victorias, a shift to hybrids should triple the mileage, meaning a substantial improvement in both air quality and CO2 emissions -- and a big reduction in driver gasoline expenses.
Hybrid cabs should be on the road by this fall.
"We aren't used to that type of vehicle. We want to see what happens," Lagasse said. "Does it hold up to the wear and tear of taxi service? Do the customers accept it as a taxi?"
I guess we'll find out!
If I ran a car company eager to improve its new hybrid line, I would lease out the vehicles on very favorable terms on the condition that my engineers got to look them over every few months. The punishment of taxi duty would probably uncover many interesting flaws.
A taxi driver in Vancouver used a Prius for a few years, putting either 300,000 kms or miles on it (don't remember) without any problem, and when the HSD Prius came out in 2004 he bought that.
"12 mile-per-gallon Crown Victorias"
What Crown Vic gets 12 MPG?
It's rated at 18/25/21, whereas a 2WD Escape HEV is rated 36/31/33. The Crown Vic is also much bigger for passengers and probably has a bigger trunk. It's also proven to be durable, so probably has far less material content per mile of lifetime use. It's also safer than the Escape.
Definitely an improvement in terms of emissions and gasoline use, but there are drawbacks compared to the Crown Vic.
"If I ran a car company eager to improve its new hybrid line, I would lease out the vehicles on very favorable terms on the condition that my engineers got to look them over every few months. The punishment of taxi duty would probably uncover many interesting flaws."
Ford is doing exactly that with Luxor and Yellow in San Francisco.
Joseph, I was going by the mileage figure in the report I linked to; I didn't get a chance to research & corroborate.
It's worth noting, however, that the taxicab Crown Vic is not a salesroom standard model. It's significantly longer than the standard model, and presumably heavier.
Hmm. Ford doesn't provide fuel mileage data for the 6" stretch Crown Vics, but they run the same 220 HP engine as normal Vics. Might be a bit heavier, but now way it drops it from 21 down to 12.
I'd be curious to see what kind of real world fuel mileage Yellow and Luxor are getting from their Escape HEVs compared to the Vics in their fleet. I'm also curious as to what percentage of fleets purchase new Vics with the stretch option, as opposed to pulling cop cars off the used market.
My best guess is that the fuel economy improvement will be close to the EPA estimates - in this case, sixty percent better. In NYC it might be a little better than an averge city, since you see far more fares going for in-city trips relative to airport and other long fares. I know in SF there tends to be a specific portion of the taxi market which is almost exclusively devoted to queuing at the hotels to try and get airport fares - mostly individuals owning one or two medallions.
I *heart* my city.
For anyone who's interested, I grew tired of hearing "hybrids don't make economic sense" from naysayers on other forums, so I ran some financials for the new Mercury Mariner. Here they are:
[Assume gas prices to remain constant in real terms and inflation to be 3.3%/yr]
Price premium = $4,190.00
Value of tax deduction in 35% bracket = $700
Net premium = $3,490.00
Gas = $2.30 (as of 7/13/05)
Non-Hybrid = 20 MPG
Hybrid = 31 MPG
Payback period (miles) = 85,526
Payback period (years) @ 15,000 miles/yr = 5.7
Average lifespan of a vehicle = 14 years
Value of gas cost savings over lifespan of vehicle = $8,569.35
Nominal return on investment = 146%
Real return on investment = 94%
Annual real return on investment = 4.9%
Annual real return on S&P since 1950 = 4.2%
Annual real return in excess of S&P = 0.7%
reference for price premium figure:
NYC also deserves props for its series hybrid bus fleet. The buses have no transmission, better ride and acceleration, better fuel economy, and less pollution.