Having just returned from a trip to NYC, this news intrigues me. The New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission has agreed to issue medallions to hybrid vehicles. They are beginning to look at one or two hybrid models to test in the fleet. It seems that the Ford Escape Hybrid may be on the list for consideration. Most hybrid solutions offer far less space than the long wheelbase Ford Crown Victoria now in service. Leg room is seen as a major obstacle, but we see performance to be a major factor in their acceptance. In fact, when natural gas was trialed, it was not the passengers who influenced their rejection. It was the drivers who complained about the lack of filling stations. Also, will the battery system be able to handle the cycles required by the harsh environment of New York City? So, the question is really not whether customers will accept a hybrid taxi, which will likely be popular, but whether drivers will be willing to make the kind of performance sacrifices necessary to drive an Escape Hybrid instead of the Crown Victoria. It may be possible that the Toyota hybrid SUVs will be selected and their performance will fit the requirements better. They are very expensive, and often fitted with luxury accommodations. Perhaps the expense would make the Toyota hybrid SUVs better suited to limo duty.
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