New York City streets are about to get a bit more... electric. Nissan and the New York City Taxi & Limousine Commission plan to put six Leaf EVs in the hands of owner-operators for one year (a lease, free of charge) as part of a pilot program.

The goal is to gain "valuable information" about how the electric machines function as taxis on the busy streets of New York and to show people that EVs are viable options. We'd imagine the machines would work quite well for the short jaunts typical of taxi rides.

Interested in taking part in the all-electric people-moving business? Nissan invites you to fill out an online application, but you only have until November 30th to put your name in the giant spinning basket.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 26 Comments
      throwback
      • 3 Years Ago
      This is one way to test the build quality of the Leaf. NYC streets are brutal on cars.
        SNP
        • 3 Years Ago
        @throwback
        too brutal, maybe if it had a fast way to refuel almost anywhere in the city.
      Nick
      • 3 Years Ago
      My only worry is heating. NYC is freezing for several months........can the Leaf heating system cope with it?
        DaveMart
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Nick
        Presumably the cold weather version they have just brought out has been beefed up enough to cope, if the engineers have done their job.
      paulwesterberg
      • 3 Years Ago
      Having a limited range might help to train drivers not to hoon the cars so much. We have a lot of prius taxis around here and the drivers have learned how to get good mileage while still getting across town quickly.
      Joeviocoe
      • 3 Years Ago
      The Leaf COULD function as a NYC taxi. But it certainly cannot handle what ICE taxis do already. As SNP pointed out, the 'average' NYC taxi does over 200 miles per day. Running a variety of fare types (gridlock downtown/midtown, or across town, or even trans-borough). And often being shared between multiple drivers. As a result of the typical NYC taxicab abuse, most of these cars are sold after 2 years or so (100,000 + miles). And at a huge discount for such high use. An EV taxi WOULD NOT BE EXPECTED TO PERFORM THIS WAY! Instead, they will run restricted routes (limited to fares within the high congestion area and during rush hour times). So drivers will have to say no to some fares. Also, no 'round the clock' use of an EV taxi. No driver sharing so the car can get maximum use. The Leaf can still do over 7 1/2 hours of driving with full A/C on while stuck in slow NYC traffic. The schedule would look something like this: 6am to 10 am = 60 miles (15 mph average which is quite realistic in NYC morning rush hour) A few hours break to charge back up 3pm to 7pm = 60 miles (again15 mph average during the afternoon rush hour) See, there will be plenty of energy in the pack for contingencies and climate needs. Sure, this puts this taxi at about half the use of the ICE taxi.. so that is less revenue each taxi makes each day. But the vehicle will last twice as long before it is sold to the secondary market. The Leaf will also retain MUCH more value than typical abused ICE taxis sold to the secondary market. Lower maintenance and fuel costs should cover some of the initial losses. =============== But all in all, it's a good investment to have a small fleet of EV taxis to supplement the high congestion areas at the high congestion times. It is all about proper planning. And ONLY using EVs were they have the advantage... and NOT as a complete replacement for the current taxi fleet.
        DaveMart
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Joeviocoe
        Thinking about this program a bit more, Nissan have won the contract to supply taxis to NY. Those are based on the NV200. So this program seems to be simply doing what it says, and Nissan are putting on the streets the electric vehicle they have available, the Leaf, to get data on usage. Now of course the NV 200 taxi is not to be electric, but this sounds to me like Nissan once more thinking ahead to see what it would take to make some of them electric.
      John R
      • 3 Years Ago
      I'm not a NY resident, so I'm not too familiar with the taxi companies itineraries. But I will say that New York city involves a lot of low speed, stop and go driving, which is where an electric powertrain really stands out from an ICE. Assuming use mostly in the city, it should do quite well. Not counting winter use, though, where the heater will really eat up energy.
      Spec
      • 3 Years Ago
      Again, I think this is a really bad idea. Use CNG for taxis. The Leaf range is limited, it takes time to recharge, and they'll probably have to run back to a central point to recharge. Short range EVs are good for personal commuting. They are not good for driving all day long. The only way they would work well as taxis is if you had a little longer range (100 mile plus), battery-swapping ability, and many battery swapping locations scattered around the area of operation.
        Dave R
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Spec
        Without knowing how many and how miles are driven for a typical cabbie, you're just speculating. Sure - the LEAF won't work for all cabbies - but I'd have to imagine that they'd work for a decent number of them. I imagine that a few well placed CHAdeMO stations would be plenty to keep LEAFs topped off. To maximize your return on investment, have a few installed back at the depot and have multiple drivers share EVs. Your typical CNG conversion also suffers from limited range - typically about half to 2/3rds the gas version, not to mention that you still have the same infrastructure issues for refueling as EVs. Not to mention that city economy is going to suffer horribly with any ICE - so you're probably down to ~100 mi range for a CNG anyway. Would be interesting to know.
          SNP
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Dave R
          Dave, if you've been to new york you'd know it would never ever work. The only way this works is if the fare price sky rockets up or if someone subsidizes the ride (govt or nissan). I'd assume nissan is funding this program as a marketing ploy. Nyc cab drivers must drive almost nonstop for 4 hours during the morning rush and about 4 hours during the evening rush. Then there's the multiple shifts cab sharing and searching for prospective riders. Here're some numbers, a typical (crown vic/escape hyb) racks up 50K miles/yr. That averages to about 1000miles/week. how many times would the driver have to go back to the shop to swap batts or recharge?
          Herm
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Dave R
          There are many kinds of taxies in NY, some are driven 24 hours a day by 3 different drivers.. the taxi and medallion belongs to a company that sublets it out, by law these vehicles must be replaced every 2-3 years.... other taxies (could be a Crown Vic) belong to a private operator that has his own medallion.. he drives a normal workday and can do what he wants.. some of those then sublet to a second driver for the remainder of the day, those are replaced every 5-6 years since they are better maintained. There are many kinds of taxies in NYC and the Leaf would not work well for some of those needs. I suspect the Leaf is really too small for this, and you would need a network of L3 chargers to keep them topped off.. as the story says is just a limited test. The BYD E6 is probably a better choice, if it does not fall apart on the potholed streets.
          Joeviocoe
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Dave R
          SNP, I agree with Dave R (see my full post). The "typical" NYC taxi workload cannot be done by the Leaf. But like any bell curve, there are maximums and minimums. In terms of miles driven per day... How many miles do the bottom 2% of taxicabs in NYC drive??? And where do they drive? The Leaf would be specialized to only perform the duties of the bottom 2%. And they can still be practical and profitable *See my full post*
        Ryan
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Spec
        They need the option to tow a trailer with 1,000 lbs of batteries...
      Peter
      • 3 Years Ago
      Could be fine if you can plug it in while "standing" at the hotel or whatever. Even so @ 220v with the Leaf's small capacity charger it will accumulate a mile worth of charge every 6 minutes. Quick charging to 80% (~60 miles) takes 30 minutes, but at 440V DC, but then there is the question if the battery chemistry is suited a steady diet of quick charges. Worth a go.
        Ziv
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Peter
        I don't know how NY taxis work all that well, but it would be great to see as many cars as possible, especially in Manhattan, using electricity. In DC, the most prized routes are to Dulles and BWI, which might stretch the capabilities of a BEV, but NY has shorter drives to the airports I believe. And as they note, you can get miles of range back really quick. I think BEV taxis will take off, not because their range is optimal or that they are as roomy as we would like, but because the drivers will spend a LOT less money on fuel and people will love the idea of a greener ride across town.
          throwback
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Ziv
          The airport routes are too far for the Leaf. The 3 metro airports (laGuardia, JFK, Newark, NJ) all involve highway travel. I imagine thes taxis will be confined to Manhattan. A trip to the outer burroughs (Queens, parts of Brooklyn and Saten Island) would tax the range of a Leaf.
          Dan Frederiksen
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Ziv
          looks to me like la guardia is only a 25km round trip from mid central park and the other two 50km. and if you have chademo stations around manhattan near the bridge and tunnels and perhaps one at each airport it would easily be within the leaf capability. on a near full charge it could go to nassau and back without charging.
      DaveMart
      • 3 Years Ago
      I rather wish they had put in a beefier pack. I would not like to see EV taxis getting a bad name by using a vehicle that is really under-specified for it. Access is not up to normal taxi standards either. it might have been better to wait and put an NV200 on the road for the job, or borrow a Kangoo Maxi 5-seater crewvan.
        viatierra
        • 3 Years Ago
        @DaveMart
        "Access is not up to normal taxi standards either." Prius taxis are everywhere and obviously doing fine.
      Dan Frederiksen
      • 3 Years Ago
      yeah should be a pretty decent taxi except for the 25 minute recharge downtime every 150km. they'll need several chademo stations though pbs says the average distance in a 12 hour shift is 290km (180miles) and that probably includes the occasional longer drive so a single charge during a shift is not bad. going from 2C to 4C charge capable would make it even better. they really should try robotic mini cabs in NY though. tiny little car that comes to you. you can even choose to drive it yourself although for simplicity that would perhaps not be an option. maybe a brake pedal to make the passenger more comfortable. it would be awesome. the cabbies wouldn't like it though : )
        Peter
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Dan Frederiksen
        If 180 miles is the case then it will take 18 h of charging to provide, not enough hours in a day. .: Chadmo (in this case) quick charge stations will be required for this to have a chance of working WITH THREE QUICKCHARGES A DAY for a year (@60 miles each) It will be very interesting to see how well the chemistry holds up, lets hope they release data on how much the capacity will be reduced with such (extreme) use.
          Dan Frederiksen
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Peter
          SNP, luggage weight is insignificant compared to the 1700kg the car weighs already. there could be some truth heating drain though but I suspect it will only mean a bit more frequent charging. even if you run the heater constantly at 1000watt it could run it for 24 hours straight. but I'd be interested in seeing data on that.
          SNP
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Peter
          I dont even think they can get 60miles each charge. The assumption is driving in the summer (with a/c on) is the same spring/autumn or winter ( with heat on). A lot of people in the city have luggage to carry or travel in groups. That extra weight will only make things worse. This is just a stupid marketing ploy for nissan.
      EVSUPERHERO
      • 3 Years Ago
      Ever watch the, "Cash Cab" show. It takes a long time to get around in New York with many red light questions and shout outs and it is really easy to kick them to the curb if they don't get the answer right. Time for double or nothing!
      Ryan
      • 3 Years Ago
      They will work great in the traffic.
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