This probably isn't Mr. T's idea of a DC cab, but we'll forgo the not-so-classic 1983 flick and celebrate.

A Washington, DC-area taxicab operator is planning to have an all-electric fleet of cabs by ordering about 40 Nissan Leaf vehicles, Zeenews reports.

Electric Vehicle Taxicab Company, which operates out of Arlington, VA, says it'll have the largest all-electric fleet of taxis and will complement them with 56 DC fast-charging stations in the company's service area. Company founder Malik Khattak says the cabs will serve the dual purpose of cutting elimination while reducing repair costs, in part because of their lack of oil changes.

Cabs have great potential to cut fleetwide pollution because of the relatively high number of miles driven and, until recently, the fact that they are usually gas guzzlers. New York will replace many of its older cabs with more fuel-efficient Nissan NV 200 utility vehicles starting late next year, while Nissan promoted the Leaf this past June by giving out free cab rides in the London area. Leafs have also been tested as taxis in New York (pictured) and Mexico City.

In the past, Nissan has said that frequent fast charging will limit battery life and that it doesn't expect Leaf owners to fast-charge every day, but cab operator Khattak doesn't appear to be worried about this. Nissan has said that the Leaf's batteries should retain about 80 percent of their capacity after five years, less with lots of fast charging. At the very least, this will be a good, real-world test for the car and its batteries.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 55 Comments
      DaveMart
      • 2 Days Ago
      Here in Europe the Renault Kangoo Maxi Crewvan, although also limited in battery size, has far more space than the Leaf, at least comparable to a black cab. If Leaf-like range is OK, then if I were driving I would far rather use a Maxi. http://www.renault.co.uk/vans/model/kangoo-van-ze/exploremaxicrew.aspx
      Scr
      • 2 Years Ago
      We already have an expensive electric taxi. Its called the Metro.
        Ele Truk
        • 2 Days Ago
        @Scr
        The Metro is kinda limited to the number of streets it can go on: none. Also limited to the number of residences it can pick up at the door: none. Mass transit doesn't fill the same need, otherwise you wouldn't see all those yellow vehicles in New York.
      Rick
      • 2 Years Ago
      Nissan's e-NV200 all-electric van will probably make a more practical taxi, with huge trunk space, much better than the Leaf ladies handbag carrying machine.
        Ele Truk
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Rick
        You had a point, until you denigrated the Leaf. The Leaf has more passenger room and cargo space than the Volt, so does the Volt also qualify as a "ladies handbag carrying machine"?
        Spec
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Rick
        I disagree with you a lot Rick but I don't know why you got down-voted on this one. 13,000 Nissan NV200 will literally become Taxis in NYC starting in 2013. http://blogs.wsj.com/metropolis/2011/05/03/new-yorks-next-taxi-will-be-a-nissan/
          Spec
          • 2 Days Ago
          @Spec
          OK, the handbag comment of yours is why you got voted down. That was pathetic. I'm getting the feeling that you are a large man that has special size needs and the ability things to sustain heavy loads.
      Scr
      • 2 Years Ago
      This isn't going to work. Cabs make money by being in service as much as possible. When this is charging, it is out of service, and not making money. Range anxiety will be huge, as the Leaf has proven to be unreliable with battery life due to its poor temperature control. DC has both extremes where this car has proven to be frail: Summers with heat regularly in the high 90s to low 100s, and winters of 20's down into the 10's. I've seen scores of these things on the back of flat-bed tow trucks in the region, with only one or two actually driving around. Just so long as they are using their own money...go for it. Just don't expect a return on investment. Maybe this is why the DC council is going after privateer cabs, denying people the ability to be their own boss and own their own business.
        gpmp
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Scr
        My guess is that the owner of the company knows exactly when and how often his cars are in service, as well as the distance of the average fare (roundtrip from the Capitol to Dulles is about 50 miles). I'm sure he's/she's crunched all those numbers. Besides, since the name if his company is Electric Vehicle Taxicab Company, doesn't this all make sense? And forget about the savings from oil changes, his savings from gas will be tremendous, especially If he can secure cheap offpeak rates
          Dave D
          • 2 Years Ago
          @gpmp
          Sorry, that last post was to SVX pearlie...not gpmp. :-)
          SVX pearlie
          • 2 Years Ago
          @gpmp
          If the taxi is prowling for fares, what makes you think that it'll be fully-charged?
          Dave D
          • 2 Years Ago
          @gpmp
          This guy runs a successful taxi company and he knows how HIS taxis are used. As you don't have that data, I'm not sure how you're quite so assertive on what is right and wrong here. Do his taxi spend 99% of their time in a down town area where they work just fine? Hell, I don't know and neither do you. It's his money, and his taxi company. He's made it this far which is better than most people do so give the guy the benefit of the doubt and let's see what happens.
          Giza Plateau
          • 2 Years Ago
          @gpmp
          Dulles shouldn't be a problem, only 40 klicks
          SVX pearlie
          • 2 Years Ago
          @gpmp
          Just hope that you don't need to take a Leaf to Dulles or BWI during a cold snap... Personally, I think a Prius V would have been the smarter call.
        TimeBandit
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Scr
        lol@"scores" -- hyperbole much?
      Rick
      • 2 Years Ago
      Leaf make a nice looking taxi, still prefer the good ole Checker taxi, can't somebody remake an electric Checker with bags of personality and charisma.
        paulwesterberg
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Rick
        No, they had the aerodynamics of a brick.
          throwback
          • 2 Years Ago
          @paulwesterberg
          Does that matter at city speeds? I grew up in NYC and outside of late night/early morning, cabs rarely touched 30 mph and never for long.
      throwback
      • 2 Years Ago
      It will be interesting to see how the car holds up to the abuse of taxi service. City cabs live a miserable existence.
        SVX pearlie
        • 2 Years Ago
        @throwback
        The bigger question is DC potholes, if the passenger car suspension will hold up to all those city miles.
        Vlad
        • 2 Years Ago
        @throwback
        EVs eat stop-start cycles for breakfast. ICE, on the other hand, gets killed by them.
      DaveMart
      • 2 Years Ago
      London is hoping to go to zero pollution vehicles for all taxis by 2020. Since that is only 7 years ago I assume they mean all new taxis. This is a great business opportunity since the previous black cab supplier has gone bust. Guess the biggest supporters? The cab drivers who ran the fuel cell cabs supplied in time for the Olympics. They loved them, and found them far less tiring than driving a conventional car for hours a day. 'As part of the FCH JU funded project HyTEC, 5 FCEV cabs have been employed for several months now in London. These were used as shuttles during the Olympic and Paraolympic games in summer 2012 and celebrities like Arnold Schwarzenegger and Rupert Murdoch were passengers. Not only did they appreciate this experience, but – maybe just as important – the taxi drivers enjoyed driving these cabs all day long. Having less vibration and noise for an hour or two (London traffic…) is much enjoyed by the passengers, but taxi drivers are the ones spending their entire working day usually exposed to these disturbances. Especially in London, taxi drivers are key multipliers to demonstrate how smooth and quiet FCEVs are. If more FCEV cabs will be employed, it might be reasonable to locate HRS close to where taxi drivers live or for other reasons frequently pass by. What really tops this advantage is the decision of the London authorities to make all London cabs CO2 free by 2020.' http://fuelcellsworks.com/news/2012/10/24/can-fcevs-change-the-game-road-tour-stop-in-london-5-october/ I wouldn't rule out battery cars, but in my view the battery would have to be way bigger than 24 kwh and have a long cycle life. Battery swapping is possible, but the cabs need to be able to make longish runs too.
        DaveMart
        • 2 Days Ago
        @DaveMart
        See the post by MV Holland below. On certain routes the Leaf seems to work.
        Marcopolo
        • 2 Days Ago
        @DaveMart
        @ DaveMart 94% Australia's nearly 20,000 taxi fleet operates on LPG fuel. (Australia is geographically the same size as the continental USA)
        Marcopolo
        • 2 Days Ago
        @DaveMart
        @ DaveMart During the Olympic Games the FCEV taxi's were most impressive ! I agree it's most depressing seeing a famous old marque like the London Black Cabs disappear. Maybe Barry Shrier could rescue the employees as he did with my friend Jamie Borthwick's Modec project. Manganese Bronze Holdings would be impossible to revive without considerable government backing. I have built a number of EV resort taxi's, but to revive London Cabs, would be uneconomic for anyone but a very large manufacturer. (Tata Motors?) Thanks for the Bunker Oil link. It's really pathetic how little interest there is in this source of toxic pollution. Very frustrating ! I hope to be in the UK for Christmas, I will then be traveling to the far east (Via the US) until late Feb when I shall return to the UK. I shall try to make a point of visiting Bristol, the Novia Scotia sounds great, and reminds me of an old pub in Melbourne. The Glass Boat, would be good if we could get Ezee to find us a couple of dates! I usually stay at Jury's, or the Marriot Royal, and always look in on the Clifton Club, just to see who's still alive ! I am looking forward to riding on Bristols Hydrogen powered ferry.
      Spec
      • 2 Years Ago
      The only way this could work is if you really did have DC fast-chargers scattered all over the service area. But I doubt they exist so this probably would not work well.
        • 2 Days Ago
        @Spec
        Perhaps this wasn't in the article you read: "will complement them with 56 DC fast-charging stations in the company's service area. "
      Aaron Schwarz
      • 2 Years Ago
      let the chips fall as they may: so the pundits can eat their words again if this goes over well and becomes a mainstream concept used in big cities.... Leaf FTW
      DaveMart
      • 2 Days Ago
      Many thanks. It's great to hear that the Leaf can work as a taxi!
      Spec
      • 2 Years Ago
      This strikes me as a very bad idea.
        Spiffster
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Spec
        Me too actually. Fast charging 3 times a day, at least. The logistics behind it all would be a mess too. Should have went with Volts, and Im not just saying that because I own one, Im saying that because logistics would be much easier to deal with and the batteries wont get raped daily.
      Spec
      • 2 Years Ago
      Yeah, but I wanna know what Aaron Schwarz thinks.
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